Former PT boat skipper recalls WWII service
Posted November 11, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Peyton Holloman's transition from boy to man came in a flash, from sailing on North Carolina's Pamlico River to dodging bullets in the South Pacific during World War II.
"I have seen bullets where I felt like I could reach up and grab them out of the air," Holloman, 92, said Monday as he recalled his service nearly 70 years ago.
At age 24, he was the skipper of a PT boat – an 80-foot-long wooden speedboat loaded with torpedoes.
"I don't think I had any business being there," he said. "PTs played a great part in interrupting all the supply lines that the Japanese tried to feed to the Philippines."
The small boats were nimble at harassing much larger enemy ships, but they were also dangerously vulnerable, taking on frequent fire during night missions.
"You could get so confused out there in the total black," he said.
Grayson Taylor said he admires his grandfather's humble courage. He got to see exactly how the war was waged when the pair took a recent trip to the PT Museum in Fall River, Mass.
"This thing's going up against a battleship and winning. It kind of brings a whole new perspective," Taylor said.
"You didn't have time to be scared. That's the thing about it," Holloman said. "I reckon the reason they want young people is you don't have sense enough."
Even with a lifetime of wisdom, he looks back and says he'd do it all over again.
"It's not until after it's all over that you see the concept and what PT boats played in it," he said.
After the war, Holloman returned to North Carolina, graduated from North Carolina State University, raised a family and had a long career as an architect.