Col. Rommie L. (Ram) Holt
"Once a Marine, always a Marine"
Left to Right:  Navy Cross,  Purple Heart,  Gold Star in lieu of 2nd. Purple Heart, Silver Star
Sept. 24,1913—March 17,1989
A large number of photos of Rommie, Helen, Trina, Michael, the extended family and friends at:


www.boblholt.smugmug.com
Known as Rommie or Ram. Served in the Marines during WWII, remaining in the reserves many years
Worked in Insurance most of his life. Lived in Atlanta in the 50's before moving to Richmond, Va. to remain for the
rest of his life.

(From the Kinston Daily Free Press, July 4, 1945)
LT. HOLT RECEIVES SILVER STAR MEDAL FOR HEROIC SERVICE

First Lt. Rommie L. Holt, USMCR, was awarded the Silver Star Medal July 4, 1945, at Fourth Division Rest Base in
the Pacific for service as set forth in the following citation:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as a Marine rifle company commander on
Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on February 19 to March 17, 1945. Landing as a platoon leader of a rifle platoon in the
assault on a beach covered by enemy mortar, rocket and artillery fire. First Lt. Holt quickly reorganized his platoon
which had suffered heavily from casualties and skillfully directed its members in a turning maneuver under the
most trying conditions of combat. Continuing the attack in coordination with another platoon, he so inspired the
members of his platoon by his personal display of bravery and courage in leading them that they seized their
objective in spite of murderous enemy mortar fire that fell within their zone of action. When his company
commander and all officers senior to him had become casualties, he unhesitatingly assumed command of his
company, reorganized it, and by the skillful maneuver of its members, together with its supporting arms,
successfully led it to a position where it could neutralize the enemy enfilade fire that was falling on the landing
beaches. Later the sole surviving officer in his company, he personally aided in carrying vital supplies from the
beach through heavy enemy fire of all types to his assault units. His conduct was in keeping with the highest
traditions of the United States Naval Service." Lt. Holt is a former resident of this section.

Source: Col. Hugh D. Maxwell, Jr., USAF, retired.

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19 March 45
At sea


Sweetheart,
I wrote you a V-mail yesterday and now I'm starting on a long letter
and I'll try to give you a resume of what has happened since D day, a month ago. I'm going to be awfully busy
during the trip back to the same rest base, so I want you to make copies of this letter and send them to Sis and
Duguid, Bob & Helen, Bit & Leo and H. D. & Aunt Sadie. You guys and gals just mentioned consider this as a
personal letter to you, --tanks.
At about 9: A.M. on the 19th Feb. we landed on the east beaches of Iwo Jima, the 5th Marine Div. on the left, 4th
on the right. The 5th zone of action included Mt. Suribachi (which surely was not the key to the islands defense)
and from there the western half of the island. The 4th's included the eastern half (taking in both completed air
fields and the 3rd. airfield that was under construction). Within our division (which is made up of the 23rd, 24th,
and 25th Marines) the 23rd, landed on the left and the 24th in reserve with the 25th on the right. 25th Marines in
the army would be called 25th regiment, your reference to the 4th Marines is wrong. We are the 25th Marines, 4th
Div. Within our regiment ( made up of the 1st, 2nd & 3rd (mine)Battalions, we landed with two battalions abreast,
1st on the left & 3r (mine) on the right. Within our battalion we landed in a column of companies on the beach blue
2, I co. first wave, K co. second & L co. 3rd in reserve. Within I Co, we landed with 2nd platoon (Frank Hallobrine's)
in reserve. That put my platoon in the first wave to hit the beach and extreme right flank of both Divisions, a hot
spot if there ever was one. We landed in LVT's (known as amphibious tractors to you, probably). Our Co. having
seven abreast in the first wave. My platoon being in the right three tractors & center tractor having men from both
the 2nd & 1st platoons. Of the three right flank tractors, my platoon sgt. Dick Hanigy, from North or South Dakota
was in charge of the right tractor, out platoon guide, Sgt. Ben Henly(?) from Thomasville, NC was in charge of the
left and I was in the center tractor.
You know of the pre-invasion of the island, that continued of course, until we hit the beach at which time naval
gunfire & bombing was raised from the landing beaches. Our own big babies were falling awfully close as we hit
the beaches. We necessarily expected and did receive casualties in the first wave from our own supporting fire.
As you probably know by now, the Japs were so well dug in that all the bombardment had done was to knock out a
few exposed guns. They had elaborate cave systems, would wheel them out & fire at will, then move them back
into the cave positions where no amount of naval gunfire or bombing could harm them. That's the reason it took so
long & casualties were so extremely high. McArthur would probably have lost many more men than we did because
we are far superior to the Army in that type of fighting. The only way to dig out the Japs was in close in, hand to
hand combat & that is what happened for 27 of the longest days & nights ever spent by your correspondent.
Fighting continued day and night and we were continually under Jap mortar fire (more about mortar fire later).
Back to the beach a H hour. As we approached the beach we received very little artillery fire but as we landed, all
Hell broke loose. There were a few live Japs on the beach proper, but they threw everything at us from the hills but
the proverbial kitchen sink. As we hit the beach we did a right turn toward quarry #1. There were large shell holes
all over the beach and we advanced in small groups from shell hole to shell hole toward our objective.
Our casualties were heavy all day- three Co. officers being hit within half an hour after landing on the beach. Just
about dusk we reached the rocky area just below quarry #1 and for about two hours had the damn'dest hand to
hand fight your can imagine.
At about dusk, due to casualties, I took over as commanding officer of (can't read) and kept that job throughout
the operation. We hit the beach with 237 men and when we set up our night defense the Co. had dwindled to
about a hundred men. At about 1:00 A.M. on D plus 1 my Co. was relieved temporarily so we could reorganize
(can't read) about 200 yds. behind the front lines. I had only one officer left (C. M. Ward of Ala.) and many of the
high ranking N.C.O.'s were casualties.
Now something about the Jap mortars-- they had'em of all sizes & makes along with rockets that we called flying
tanks, buzz bombs, giggling Gertie, etc. When one of those babies would land close by it sounded & felt like the
whole world had blown up. naturally the men in the immediate vicinity were blown to bits. They had one rocket that
went off with a tremendous swooshing sound that continued until it landed. They had 240mm mortars that went off
with a tremendous short scream or screech & then there would be no sound for a few seconds until it landed.
Later in the operation we lost some fear of the big babies in the daytime because we could see them coming & had
some chance to do a little dodging, but at night all we could do was crouch and shiver in a hole and pray to God it
didn't land close by. Iwo Jima was no place for an atheist. We all figured that anybody alive on the beach after a
few hours maybe was alive through luck but from then on the guardian angels took over. Life literally wasn't worth
a plugged nickel.
About D plus 2 or 3 we moved back in the front lines on the high ground extending inland from the top of quarry #1
where we plugged away for a few days.
About D plus 10 we were relieved again (the battalion) and went back to the beaches for a couple of days for
further reorganization and to receive replacements. While on the beach we had a couple of air raids but
throughout the operation we were bothered very little by Jap aircraft & not at all by the Jap navy. Our naval air
force was doing a wonderful job in covering us during the operation. We did have one or two counter landings but
they were contained shortly.
On the beach I was given about 50 replacements, enlisted men and two officers, bringing the Co. strength up to
over 100--about 130 or 140.
All the while we were receiving replacements and early causalities were returning so that Co. strength remained at
about the 125 level until the last days it dropped to 100 men and two officers as it is now.
On about D plus 12 we took over positions in the high ground about a half mile north of beach blue 2. We
advanced about a thousand yds. I Co. on the right, K on the left and L in reserve, we were ordered to hold and set
up a defense which we did for 4 or 5 days. We put up wire (in the form of concertinas) and put out anti-personnel
mines in front of our positions. While there we got our first mail. I received 22 letters and your picture Honeychile.
Yep the eyes are brown but I still have the both and still have them with me. Incidentally, I still have Gretchen's
silver dollar and Bob's ring. Maybe they helped.
In that position it was relatively quiet for a few days. On about D plus 19 we got word that we were to receive
elements of the 24th Marines in positions just north of airfield #2. For several days they had attempted to drive
east to the sea (about 2 miles away) which would complete the operation for the 4th Div. Incidentally on about D
plus 2, the 3rd Marine Div. hand landed and driven up between the 4th and 5th. It looked for a long time that we
would need still more. The 3rd drove north and to the right toward the sea so for the last week or so the 4th had
only to drive to the sea from above mentioned positions. All three regiments were shot to Hell and full of
replacements and the going was tough. The battalion we relieved had its battalion commander relieved of duty
due to their inability to move. That was a bad spot to put the old 3rd battalion in but in our first day in that zone we
advanced with I Co. on the right and K on the left and L in reserve, about 750 yds. At the time I had three
replacement platoon leaders, Ward, Terrell and Murphy, who did a wonderful job. At about dusk on the first day in
that position all three were hit (within a 15 minute period) leaving me with no officers and ex-squad leaders as
platoon leaders. At that time we had bumped into perhaps one of the strongest points of the island, a big valley
about 500 yards wide with a ridge running in the center to the beach road which was our final objective. About 300
yds. this draw or pocket was honey-combed with elaborate caves containing troops, rockets, and mortar positions
and part of Jap headquarters. The entire area was alive with Japs and I know that in the last 4 or 5 days I Co.
accounted for at least 300 Japs. We kept plugging away and finally on the 15th we reached the beach road.
Elements of the 24th that had moved to position on our left had a similar pocket that was not secured until a day
later.
It had been announced that the island was secured several days before and some of our heaviest fighting took
place after it was Officially secured.
The following day we buried the Japs in the pocket for sanitary reasons and brought our own dead. The 4th Div.
cemetery had been established inland from blue beach. I never did get a chance to go by the cemetery but it
looked awfully big from a distance. Two of my best buddies are there but I can't give you their names.
The fighting is over for us for a while at least. It was announced last night that Germany had surrendered
unconditionally but we found this A.M. that it was not true.
There are very few of the old men left. Capt. Jim Headly is battalion commander, having taken over about D plus 8,
when the old man was hit, Jim Cenlirk is battalion executive officer temporarily. A replacement officer, Lt. Lemlick
has L co., Lt. Morton has K Co., and I have I Co. still. The setup is only temporarily. A battalion rates a Lt. Col. as
commander, Major as ex. officer and Capt, as Co. commander. As it sis we have no rank above Capt. Rank does
not mean much during combat but during training they adhere pretty much to regulations. Woods. by the way, is
back with us as plans and training officer temporarily. He was evacuated on D day and returned about D plus 20.
As tired as I was it made me feel pretty good when they left me in as I Co. commander even after he returned.
That is about all for now. In(?) sort of haphazard way I've tried to give you a very rough picture of what's been
happening for the past month. Be sure to send copies to the kids and H. D. I'll be so busy writing letters of
condolence for the next few days I'll hardly have time for my own.
Our next stop probably will be the old rest base and we do need rest.
Forgot to mention that on D plus 10 an ammunition dump went up nearby and a rock hit and broke my right index
finger. I had to keep it in a splint for the remainder of the operation. You can well imagine that it was continually in
my way and I cussed it like you cussed the alarm clock in Charlotte.
This is enough and all for now. I don't know just when it will be mailed but soon I hope. No mail has gone out since
D day.
Mustache? Yep I've got one but haven't decided whether I like it or not.

With three little words,
I love you,
Rommie

Printed with permission of Mrs Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; Daughter - Mar.2,2001


( It is interesting to note that the stationery Uncle Rommie used was from:
GABLE'S
"Where you always get the best"
Scales Street
Reidsville, NC

the phone number listed was: Telephone 39

The stationery must have been sent to Uncle Rommie by Aunt Lizzie Holt Watlington; by Bob Holt)

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GOLD STAR IN LIEU OF SECOND PURPLE HEART; 2 FEBRUARY, 1945

In the name of the President of the United States and by the direction of the Secretary of the Navy and the
Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, the Gold Star in lieu of second Purple Heart Medal is awarded by
the Commanding General, Fourth Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, to:
First Lieutenant Rommie L. Holt, (020078, USMCR, for wounds received in action against an enemy of the United
States on Iwo Jima, 27 February, 1945;
C. B. Cates, Major General, U. S. Marine Corps

Source: Mrs. Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; daughter - March 1, 2001

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THE NAVY CROSS

THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON

The President of the United States takes pleasure in pre-
senting the NAVY CROSS to

FIRST LIEUTENANT ROMMIE L. HOLT
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

"For extraordinary heroism while attached to Company
I, Third Battalion, Twenty-fifth Marines, Fourth Marine Division,
in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano
Islands, from 19 February to 17 March 1945. Landing as a Pla-
toon Leader of a rifle platoon in the initial assault, First Lieu-
tenant Holt efficiently reorganized his unit, which had suffered
heavy casualties, and skillfully directed its members in a turn-
ing maneuver under trying conditions. Continuing the attack in
coordination with another platoon, he inspired his men to heroic
efforts in seizing their objective in the face of heavy enemy fire.
Later in the same day, when his commanding Officer and all
officers senior to him had become casualties, First Lieutenant
Holt unhesitatingly assumed command of his company, reorganized
it and , by skillful maneuvers together with supporting arms,
successfully led it to a position where it could neutralize the en-
emy fire that was falling on the landing beaches. As the sole
surviving officer of his company, he personally aided in carrying
vital supplies from the beach through enemy opposition to his
assault units. On 12 March, when the advance of his company
located the positions of the guns and , exposing himself to their
fire, personally directed their destruction. First Lieutenant
Holt's courage, initiative and devotion to duty were in keeping
with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

For the President

John L. Full.........
Secretary of the Navy

Source: Mrs Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; daughter - March 1, 2001
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WESTERN UNION: JULY 25, 1944, 1 PM
WA462 78 GOVT-WASHINGTON DC 25 1259P

MRS ROMMIE L HOLT=
405 CAROLINA AVE RICH=

DEEPLY REGRET TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR HUSBAND FIRST
LIEUTENANT ROMMIE L HOLT USMCR WAS WOUNDED IN ACTION
4 JULY 1944 IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTY AND SERVICE OF
HIS COUNTRY. I REALIZE YOUR GREAT ANXIETY BUT NATURE OF
WOUNDS NOT REPORTED AND DELAY IN RECEIPT OF DETAILS
MUST BE EXPECTED. YOU WILL BE PROMPTLY FURNISHED ANY
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RECEIVED. TO PREVENT POSSIBLE AID
TO OUR ENEMIES DO NOT DIVULGE THE NAME OF HIS SHIP OR
STATION=
A A VANDEGRIFT LIEUT GENERAL USMC COMMANDANT
OF THE MARINE CORPS.

USMCR 4 1944

Source: Mrs. Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; Daughter- March 1, 2001
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LETTER FROM: HEADQUARTERS U. S. MARINE CORPS,
WASHINGTON; 1 JANUARY, 1945

My dear Mrs. Holt

With further reference to the notification from this office
regarding your husband, Second Lieutenant Rommie Laurins Holt,
U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, Additional information has been
received that he sustained a shrapnel wound of the neck and the
back.

Your husband doubtless will communicate with you in
the near future informing you of his welfare if he has not already
done so. Should any further reports regarding his welfare be
received, you will be informed promptly. Please notify this
Headquarters of any change of your address.

Sincerely yours,


M. G. Craig,
First Lieutenant, U.S.M.C.


Mrs. Rommie L. Holt
3405 Carolina Avenue
Richmond, Virginia

Source: Mrs. Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; Daughter - March 1, 2001

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CERTIFICATE OF RETIREMENT
From the Reserve Forces of the United States of America

TO ALL WHO SHALL SEE THESE PRESENTS, GREETING:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT

COLONEL ROMMIE L HOLT, O20078, USMCR

HAVING BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE RETIRED RESERVE
AFTER HONORABLE SERVICE IN THE

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE

IS AWARDED THIS TESTIMONIAL AS AN
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF DUTY FAITHFULLY PERFORMED
DONE AT WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS 5TH. DAY OF NOVEMBER
IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD ONE THOUSAND NINE
HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE AND OF THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FOURTH


COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS

Source: Mrs Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; Daughter - March 1, 2001

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The Richmond News Leader, Friday, March 17, 1989

FUNERAL IS PLANNED FOR WORLD WAR II HERO

A funeral for Ronnie L. Holt, a retired insurance claims manager
who received the Navy Cross for heroism during World War II, will be
held tomorrow at 12:30 p. m. at Woody Funeral Home's Laburnum
Chapel, 2001 E. Laburnum Ave.

Burial will be in Forest Lawn Cemetery Mausoleum.

Mr. Holt, 75, died yesterday at his residence here.

A Duplin County, NC native, he was a graduate of the University of
North Carolina. He taught French and sociology in Rocky Mount, NC
before he entered the insurance business.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and served with the 4th
Marine Division in the Pacific theater. He earned a Purple Heart and
Gold Star in Lieu of a second Purple Heart for combat wounds. His
Purple Heart was awarded for wounds he suffered on Saipan.

He received the Gold Star and the Navy Cross for combat against
Japanese forces on Iwo Jima between February and March 1945

A First Lieutenant, Holt led a rifle platoon during the initial assault
on the island, his citation said, Although the unit had suffered heavy
casualties, he led it in an attack on entrenched forces.

"He inspired his platoon to heroic efforts to capture its objective under
heavy fire," the citation said.

Later, as the only surviving officer in his company, he led his troop in neutralizing enemy fire and personally
helped carry vital supplies
through enemy lines to American assault units.

He was wounded while directing the destruction of a machine gun that had his platoon pinned down. He was
hospitalized in Hawaii until
Japan surrendered.

After the war, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve and retired as a
Colonel in 1959.

He worked as insurance claims manager for Markel Service Inc. in
Richmond, Atlanta and Chicago.

In 1961, Mr. Holt returned to Richmond and later joined Security
Insurance Group. he worked for that firm in Hartford, Conn., and was
claims manager in Richmond from 1966 until he retired in 1979.

He was a member of St. John's Masonic Lodge 13, AF & AM in
Kenansville, NC, the University of North Carolina Alumni Association,
the UNC Rams Club and New Hanover Presbyterian Church.

Survivors include his wife, Mrs Helen M. Holt; a daughter, Mrs Trina
Marson of Virginia Beach; a son, Michael D. Holt of Richmond; a sister
Mrs Lizzie Watlington of Reidsville, NC; and one grandchild.

The family suggests memorial gifts be made to New Hanover
Presbyterian Church or St. John's Masonic Lodge.

Source: Mrs. Buddy (Trina Holt) Marson; Daughter - March 1, 2001
A Look at Ram's History
Ram's Helen
Gable's page 4