NJ Ferrari Maserati

Around Town
Voyagers’ Community School Welcomes Dr. Nel Noddings
RUMC Receives AHA - AHS Gold Plus Achievement Award
Summer Guide 2014 - Out & About
Ask The Experts
Ask The Expert - Beth Thomas-Edwards
AskThe Expert - John Kling Custom Homes
Ask The Experts: William Kilbride, Owner Critelli & Kilbride Realtors
Bay Wellness
Bay Wellness - Welcome to our newest issue
Bay Wellness - Genital Warts
Bay Wellness - Don't Forget
Best Bets
Best Bet - Homeclick Lighting
The Guide 2015 - Wisteria of Red Bank
The Guide 2014 - EXIT Realty East Coast
Black Book
Cover Story
Dr. Maureen Murphy
Calling The Shots
Still Strumming: Steve Forbert
Day Tripper - Koziar’s Christmas Village
Day Tripper: Dover Stone Church
Day Tripper - Overnight Adventures
Eats: Eagle Oaks
Eats: Addison Park
Monmouth EatBeat - Brando's Citi Cucina
Etc - Tired, Busy, Distracted, and Resigned
Etc - School Daze
Etc - Aspirin...please.
Fall Guide
Fall Guide 2015 - Gravity Vault
Weigh In - Which Halloween mask wins the creepy award?
Fall Guide - Pumpkins, Hayrides, & Orchards
Featured Artist
Featured Artist - Hazlet Artist Jim McKenzie
Featured Artist - Molly Gaston Johnson
Featured Artist - Nate Chadwick
Gift Guide
Gift Guide - Energy Aide
The Guide 2015 - Terrazza Restaurant
Gift Guide - Ralco Builders
Health Talk
Health Talk - Adnan F. Danish, M.D.
Health Talk - Allen Morgan Fertility and Reproductive Medicine
Integrative Health Services at Raritan Bay Medical Center
Health, Wellness & Beauty
Health Blog - Vito Mazza Salon & Spa
Health - Brock Farms
Health 2015 - Orthopedics
Holiday Buzz 2015
Holiday Buzz - Sights & Sounds of the Season
Holiday Buzz: Out & About in NYC & PHL
Give a Little - Get a Lot
Full Circle - The Gamzas
Intimate & Inviting
Award-Winning Country Estate
Letter to Colts Neck: Falling Into Good Times
Spring has Sprung!
Warm Winter Wishes
Living in Colts Neck
La Bella Vita!
Home at Last
Muriel Rogers - Local Artist
Newsletter Articles
A Little Bit Country - Corey Wagar
The Home - Millenium Stone Works
The Home - Dulce Feito-Daly
Our Picks
Our Pick - Atlantic Fencing Academy
Dickstein Associates Agency, LLC
Our Pick - Marshall P. Allegra, MD
People On The Move
People on the Move: Reverend Thomas J. Triggs
Kids On The Move - Sharon Lin
People On The Move - Brian Turtle
Summer Guide
Weigh In - My Favorite Jersey Beach
Summer Guide - The Beach is Back
Summer Guide 2014 - Our Jersey Shore
The Bay
The Bay - Could I Have Diabetes and Not Even Know it?
The Bay - $1 Million Emergency Department Expansion Opens
The Bay - One Stop Women’s Health
The Guide
The Guide 2014 - Federico’s Landscaping
The Guide 2014 - Richmond Chandelier
The Guide 2015 - Brock Farms
The Home Guide
The Home Guide - Ron Youmans, Jr.
The Home - ACD Custom Granite
The Home Guide - Carpets With A Twist
Weigh In
Weigh In: What Did You Get I Trouble For...
Weigh In Marlboro: Trendy Accessory or Necessary Evil?
Weigh In - What childhood toy do you still have or wish you still had?

People On The Move: Frank Holmgren
04/30/2009 - By Teja Anderson

People On The Move: Frank Holmgren


Frank Holmgren always dreamed of being in the Navy. As a teenager he’d take the train or hitchhike from Eatontown to Red Bank to see a movie; his favorite part was the warship promotions they’d show before the feature. Two things held him back from enlisting, however – he couldn’t  swim and he had heard that the Navy didn’t take nail biters. Then, in December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war. Frank went again with a group of buddies to sign up, and this time his friends were rejected for various reasons, but Frank (then 19)  was accepted on the condition that he wear white gloves to cover his fingernails until they grew out. No one ever asked him if he could swim. Happily, while Frank was at boot camp, his best friend Charles Hayes showed up, having met the weight requirement by crash dieting. As ships were  assigned alphabetically, Hayes and Holmgren were assigned to the same ship – a light-class cruiser out of New Jersey – the U.S.S. Juneau. From the start, Frank carried a chicken wishbone given to him by his sweetheart back home, Joyce Heidt, the daughter of an Eatontown police officer; as  it turned out, he would need all the luck in the world.

After engaging in several successful battles at sea, the Juneau (with a crew of 700 men) was suddenly struck by a Japanese torpedo near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific on November 12, 1942. Crippled, with many injured men, the ship was down 12 feet by the bow but was able to maintain  13 knots. The next morning three torpedoes were launched from a B1-type Japanese submarine; one struck the Juneau at the same point that had been damaged during the earlier surface action. There was a great explosion, the Juneau broke in two, and disappeared completely in 30 seconds.  Frank remembers it clearly. “I was walking back from being on duty (as an orderly), going to get a sandwich from the galley. All of a sudden there was a huge boom and the ship just blew up right in front of me. I went up with the ship, and then I went down with the ship. I remember thinking,  ‘I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die!’ I don’t remember going down…or going back up. Next thing I know I’m back up above the water. I didn’t swallow any of that water or nothing! I could hear people hollering, and somehow I had this lifejacket around me and I could see…guys on rafts.” Unable  to swim, he  somehow managed to make his way to the nearest of three rafts. He was alive and, by some miracle, so was Charlie Hayes.

Fearing another submarine attack, and because the Juneau sank so quickly, the American task force didn’t stay to check for survivors. Frank and about another 115 men watched in dismay as the U.S. ships left them to fend for themselves in the shark-infested waters. “There wasn’t any  food…just a little bit of ration on the rafts. We had only rain water to drink. After a while the men that were injured badly or just couldn’t take it any more would just go into the water and the sharks would eat them. Some of the guys [after time went by] would start to go out of their heads a  little bit; they thought they could go down to the ship and get food under the water,” Frank remembers. It was probably the fact that Frank couldn’t swim that kept him from being one of those guys who didn’t come back. By the time they were finally rescued 8 days later, exposure,  exhaustion, and shark attacks had whittled down the survivors to only 10 men. Frank was separated from Charlie when the one remaining officer, Captain Swenson, asked for men to paddle one of the rafts toward land that they could see in the distance; since Frank had no injuries he  volunteered. He never saw his buddy again.

Although Frank (now 86) lost his wife 4 years ago, he feels lucky and blessed to have survived as he did and to have had a long career at the Earle Naval Weapons Base. His blessings also include a son, a daughter, five grandchildren, and living with his 106-year old mother!



Eatontown Elk’s Club

any kind

any Western

young kids driving too fast!

my shipmate Charlie…just him


Eagle OaksThe Grove At Shrewsbury

Powered by eDirectory™