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USS Holton (DE-703)
Career (US)
Ordered: 1942
Launched: 15 December 1943
Commissioned: 1 May 1944
Decommissioned: 31 May 1946
Fate: Sold for scrap
General characteristics
Class & type: Buckley-class destroyer escort
Displacement: 1,400 tons standard, 1,740 tons full load
Length: 306 ft (93 m)
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Draft: 9.5 ft (2.9 m) standard, =11.25 ft (3.43 m) full load

2 boilers, General Electric Turbo-electric drive. 2 solid manganese-bronze 3600 lb 3-bladed propellers, 8.5 ft (2.6 m) diameter, 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) pitch

12,000 hp (8.9 MW). 2 rudders.
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 359 tons oil. 3,700 nautical miles (6,900 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h). 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h).

3 x 3 in/50 cal. guns (76.2 mm) 4 x 1.1 in/75 (28 mm) Anti-Aircraft guns (1x4) 8 x 20 mm 3 x 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (1x3) 1 x hedgehog projector 8 x depth charge projectors (K-guns)

2 x depth charge tracks

Holton (DE-703) was named after Ralph Lee Holton, who was born on 19 September 1918, and graduated from the Naval Academy in December 1941. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his valiant rescue work aiding survivors of the stricken aircraft carrier Lexington on 8 May 1942 in the Battle of the Coral Sea. As officer-in-charge of a boat detailed to rescue survivors from the burning carrier, Ensign Holton, under a hail of flaming debris from bombs, ammunition, and gasoline exploding on Lexington, persistently returned to the stricken ship and thus effected a series of daring rescues in which he saved the lives of many members of the ship's crew who otherwise would have been lost. Less than a month later, on 6 June, Ensign Holton was reported missing and presumed dead as his ship, the destroyer Hammann, was sunk by a Japanese submarine during the Battle of Midway while assisting the aircraft carrier Yorktown.

Holton, a Buckley class destroyer escort, was launched on 15 December 1943 at Defoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City, Michigan, sponsored by Mrs. Edith Holton, mother of Ensign Holton. She was commissioned on 1 May 1944 at New Orleans, Louisiana, with Lieutenant Commander J. B. Boy, USNR, in command.

After shakedown, the new destroyer escort sailed on 24 July on the Norfolk - Bizerte convoy run, returning without incident to Boston, Massachusetts on 9 September. On her second trans-atlantic convoy, begun on 2 October, Holton went into action on 14 October as two ships, a cargo vessel and a tanker loaded with high octane gasoline, collided about 400 miles (640 km) off the African coast and burst into flames. After picking up the crew of the Liberty ship carrying cargo, Holton remained close aboard and sent over a repair party to salvage the fiercely burning ship. Although her hull was being crushed from rolling against the other ship, Holton lay alongside through a long night with six hose lines running to the stricken ship and by morning had succeeded in getting the fire under control. The next day, the ship's crew was transferred back on board and with Holton as escort she proceeded to Dakar, two-thirds of the cargo as well as the ship having been saved.

Ordered to the Pacific, Holton departed Norfolk on Christmas Day 1944, and arrived at Manus, Admiralty Islands, on 5 February 1945 for duty in the Philippines. From then through the end of the war some 6 months later, her principal duty was escorting convoys within the Philippine Sea Frontier boundaries. After escorting two Navy ships to Tokyo Bay on 31 August, Holton shepherded a convoy from Okinawa to Korea from 11–13 September, and then made two similar voyages to the Chinese coast. Departing Okinawa on 8 November, the DE streamed her homeward-bound pennant and reached Boston via Pearl Harbor, San Diego, and the Panama Canal on 15 December. Proceeding down the coast, Holton berthed at Green Cove Springs, Florida, on 20 January 1946, and remained there until decommissioning and going into reserve on 31 May 1946. Holton was moved in January 1947 to Orange, Texas. She was sold for scrap.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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