Honoring our Fallen Heroes

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World War I

Tustin, California
Nelson Holderman - Captain, U.S. Army
"The Lost Battalion"

Nelson Holderman

"The Lost Battalion"

The Argonne Forest
France Oct, 1918

Medal of Honor

Service Cross

Croix de Guerre

Holderman Court is named for one of the most decorated heroes of World War I.

Nelson Holderman's parents moved to Tustin when he was young, growing oranges, walnuts and apricots on acreage near Tustin High School's present location. He attended Tustin Grammar School and enlisted in Santa Ana's National Guard unit, serving on the Mexican border during the 1916 Pancho Villa raids.

Promoted to captain, Holderman led his company as it was called into active service in October 1918. They were sent to France and became involved in fierce battles against the Germans in the Argonne Forest. They later earned the name "The Lost Battalion" after they were cut off and surrounded by the enemy for five days, stopping the Germans from capturing the position despite repeated attacks.

Holderman was said to be wounded on Oct. 4, 5 and 7. On Oct. 6, he rushed through enemy machine gun and shell fire and carried two wounded men to safety.

That earned Holderman a Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross when he and his company returned to Santa Ana to a rousing welcome in April 1919. He also received two Croix de Guerre medals for his bravery in leading his men

After returning to Tustin, Holderman rejoined the National Guard and was appointed a colonel. The governor of California named him commandant of the Yountville Soldier's Home in 1926. Holderman served at the home until his death, building new facilities for veterans and raising four children there with his wife, the former Marguerite Talbot. Holderman is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno. Along with Tustin's Holderman Court, Holderman Park in North Tustin is also named for the war hero.

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