April 24 - 28, 2002
The reunion in Jacksonville was a great success. We had a total of 65 in
attendance, which was more than we had in Hampton, VA two years earlier.
Events seemed to flow better this time. The hotel accommodations were
very good. The tours went off without any problems. We did not get any
complaints about the food at the banquet and everyone seemed to enjoy
themselves. All this made for a good time.
The tour of the USS BOONE (FFG 28) at Mayport was very interesting.
A frigate is the nearest thing to a destroyer escort the Navy has these
days. I forgot the length of the ship, but her beam was 62 feet...almost
twice the width of the HOLT. The ship's firepower is awesome and she can
attain a speed of 30 knots on one screw. Maneuvering is made easier by
an autopilot and bow and stern thrusters. The Navy sure has changed.
The next day we toured St. Augustine, a charming old city dating back
to the early Spanish settlers. After a good lunch and a tour of the
local chocolate factory (samples were very tasty), we returned to
The last day, Saturday, there were no planned activities, which gave
everyone an opportunity to loaf by the pool, visit downtown Jacksonville,
play golf, or visit in the hospitality room. We had a photo session prior
to the banquet. No professional photographer, but a host of good amateurs!
At the banquet, Rod Sutherland, son of Donald Sutherland (Sonarman 2/c),
presented this poem:
The USS HOLT 706
What a machine
What a ship.
The japs tried to sink her in 1944
But she kept fighting
From shore to shore.
A lot of sailors died
During that conflict -
But 706 stood tall -
Thru the thin & thick.
The crew, they were quite a group -
They once told stories
Of a monkey in some soup.
There was Bill -
There was Jay -
There was Doc -
And many more -
But it was Dad
Who was my favorite
Hero in that war.
Well, that's the story
Of the USS HOLT.
Let's not forget -
The history that she wrote.
-- Rod Sutherland, April 2002