Changes to USS Kidd program upsets some veterans - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Changes to USS Kidd program upsets some veterans

USS Kidd (Source: WAFB) USS Kidd (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A change to the Fourth of July celebration on the USS Kidd has upset some who have served in war.

The mock aerial air attack has been suspended from the program this year for money and safety reasons. According to one Vietnam veteran, the long-standing tradition should not be sacrificed.

US Navy Retired Second Class Petty Officer Charles Holdeman is a proud veteran of the Vietnam War. His home is decorated in his country's colors. He carries the memories deep in his heart, some of them more than a half-century old.

“We actually escorted Marines over there to Vietnam and they were advisers at that time,” Holdeman said.

He spent four years working on a destroyer similar to the US Kidd, which is docked on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

“I tell you what, those little ships that you see, they built like 240 like that. Those little devils did some terrific work,” Holdeman explained.

He turned to a picture of himself at the age of four. He was wearing a sailor suit. He said his mom must have had a hunch that the uniform fit.

“I always loved the water. My dad was a tow boat captain on the Mississippi River in the summertime. I used to go with him on the boats,” Holdeman added.

He traveled the world with the Navy. His favorite port of call was Honolulu, Hawaii, where he anchored his military experience to his arm with a special tattoo.

“It's supposed to say ‘Homeward Bound’ on it, but it's been so long, everything smeared together,” Holdeman said.

He does not miss a chance to share those stories with his kids and grandkids. He said he has taken them to the USS Kidd on many of America's birthdays. It usually includes a personal tour.

“The Fourth of July is our heritage day, I call it. They say, ‘Paw paw, how do you know that? And I say, ‘Well, I spent four years on there,’” he said.

This year's celebration on the USS Kidd will go on without the air demonstration showing fighter planes attacking the ship as it fires rounds to defend itself. Alex Juan, spokeswoman for the USS Kidd, said the agency had to sacrifice the show for financial and safety reasons.

However, it is more than just a form of entertainment for Holdeman.

“I really cry. I really do and I guess you can tell the way I'm talking. I get involved in it and it's just hard. Our country is in sad shape,” he explained.

He said he fears it is a sign of things to come. Holdeman said it is the only way he knows how to truly honor those he considers the real heroes.

“I don't think about myself, what I've done. I think about the guys who have died,” he said.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Brandon: Storms chance back by Wednesday

    Brandon: Storms chance back by Wednesday

    Monday, February 19 2018 6:03 AM EST2018-02-19 11:03:31 GMT

    Are you ready for some warmth? We had a quick taste of the nice weather on Sunday and there is plenty more of that over the next week

    More >>

    Are you ready for some warmth? We had a quick taste of the nice weather on Sunday and there is plenty more of that over the next week

    More >>
  • 4 arrested in connection to a string of vehicle thefts

    4 arrested in connection to a string of vehicle thefts

    Friday, February 16 2018 4:45 PM EST2018-02-16 21:45:50 GMT
    Three adult males and one juvenile were arrested in Limestone County on Thursday after a four-hour manhunt and charged with multiple counts stemming from a string of vehicle thefts.Three adult males and one juvenile were arrested in Limestone County on Thursday after a four-hour manhunt and charged with multiple counts stemming from a string of vehicle thefts.

    A ground search ensued that lasted about four hours and covered approximately six miles, ending a few hundred yards east of Hays Mill Road where the suspects were caught in a hunting stand/shoot house.

    More >>

    A ground search ensued that lasted about four hours and covered approximately six miles, ending a few hundred yards east of Hays Mill Road where the suspects were caught in a hunting stand/shoot house.

    More >>
  • 2 juveniles arrested for making terrorist threats, Limestone Co. Sheriff reports

    2 juveniles arrested for making terrorist threats, Limestone Co. Sheriff reports

    Friday, February 16 2018 3:29 PM EST2018-02-16 20:29:54 GMT

    Just before 2 p.m. Friday, the Limestone County Sheriff's Office reported via Twitter that two juvenile students had been arrested for making terrorist threats. 

    More >>

    Just before 2 p.m. Friday, the Limestone County Sheriff's Office reported via Twitter that two juvenile students had been arrested for making terrorist threats. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly