NJ Ferrari Maserati

Around Town
CPC BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE GRAND OPENING
Renaissance Pilates Now Open
Fall Guide 2014 - Fall Events
Ask The Experts
AskThe Expert - Frank LaRocca
Ask The Expert - Harbor Lights Financial Group, Inc.
Ask The Expert: Asaad H. Samra, M.D.
Bay Wellness
Bay Wellness - How Can An Ultrasound Help?
Bay Wellness - Health After Menopause
Bay Wellness - Physician Focus: Steven R. Berkman
Best Bets
The Guide 2014 - Jersey Shore Premium Outlets
The Guide 2014 - Vik's Fine Jewelry
The Guide 2014 - Vino Divino School of Wine
Black Book
Cover Story
Dr. Dinosaur ...aka Dr. Paul Kovalski
Jeffrey Citron and David Burke
Making The Grade: Ross Kasun
Daytripper
Day Tripper - Whitesbog Village
DayTripper: Princeton
DayTripper: NJ Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
Eats
Eat Beat - Marina Café
Firefly at the White Sands Opening Night
Eat Beat - Puglia of Red Bank
Etc
Etc - Tired, Busy, Distracted, and Resigned
Etc - The Facebook Situation
ETC - Beach Bias
Fall Guide
Fall Guide - Museums
Fall Guide - Pumpkins, Hayrides, & Orchards
Fall Guide 2014 - The Art of Wine
Featured Artist
Featured Artist - Dorothy Kaplan
Featured Artist - Carol Bruno
Featured Artist - Amy Puccio
Gift Guide
Gift Guide - Clothing & Style Consulting
Gift Guide - Physicians for Alternative Medicine
Gift Guide - Chelsea Kitchen & Bath Design Studio
Health Talk
Health Talk - db Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Health Talk - European Wax Center
Physician Profile: Dr. Hiren Patel
Health, Wellness & Beauty
Health - AMI - Atlantic Medical Imaging
Health - Jersey Shore Hot Yoga Marlboro
Health Talk - Maria Nadelstumph - Brandywine Senior Living at Wall
Homes
Country Living - Bullivant
Colonial Comfy Cozy
Turn-Key Comfort For The Canaricks
Letter
Spring has Sprung!
Letter to Colts Neck: Falling Into Good Times
Warm Winter Wishes
Living in Colts Neck
Home at Last
Feels Like Home
Muriel Rogers - Local Artist
Newsletter Articles
VNA Health Group Holiday Dinner Dance
Eats: Twin Lights Bakery Cafe
The Home Gallery - Zaksons Fine Furniture and Interior Design
Our Picks
Our Pick - Vein Center for Women, P.C.
Company Profile - JGS Insurance
Our Pick - JGS Insurance
People On The Move
People On The Move - Brian Turtle
People on the Move: Christine Schultz
People On The Move - Adam Lowy
Summer Guide
Summer Guide 2014 - Out & About
Summer Fun - Summer 2014
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 - Signature Design Group
Company Profile - JGS Insurance
The Guide 2013 - Hazlet Pharmacy
The Home Guide
The Home Guide - Kitchen & Bath Station
The Home - JGS Insurance
The Home Guide - Joey D’s
Weigh In
If you had one hour to be invisible...
Weigh In - What is the best thing about living in New Jersey?
Weigh In - What is your favorite restaurant...

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

People On The Move: Frank Holmgren

SURVIVOR OF THE U.S.S. JUNEAU



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!





STATS

FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Eatontown Elk’s Club

FAVORITE MUSIC
any kind

FAVORITE MOVIES
any Western

PET PEEVE
young kids driving too fast!

THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH
my shipmate Charlie…just him




Advertisers

The Grove At ShrewsburyEagle Oaks




Powered by eDirectory™