Commander Holdaway was raised in southern California. He graduated with distinction from Harvey Mudd College in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and was commissioned at Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. His post-graduate education includes a Master of Science degree in Physics from the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School in the Combat Systems Curriculum in 2000.
At sea on submarines, Commander Holdaway served as a Division Officer on the crew of USS PORTSMOUTH (SSN 707), as Engineer Officer on both USS KAMEHAMEHA (SSN 642) and USS PARCHE (SSN 683), and as Executive Officer of USS WEST VIRGINIA (GOLD) (SSBN 736). During these tours, he completed four Western Pacific deployments and two strategic deterrent patrols.
At sea on aircraft carriers, Commander Holdaway served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Anti-Submarine Warfare on the staff of Strike Force Training Pacific for four years, conducting Composite Training Unit Exercises (COMPTUEX) and Joint Fleet Exercises (JTFEX) for deploying Carrier Strike Groups and Expeditionary/Amphibious Groups. He served for three years on the staff of Carrier Strike Group FIVE, Task Force 70, as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Korea Exercises, Plans, and Liaison, deploying throughout the Western Pacific and participating in Operation Damayan disaster relief for the Philippines in the wake of a super typhoon.
While ashore, Commander Holdaway served on the staff of Submarine Group SEVEN in Yokosuka, Japan, as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare, Exercises, Plans, and Liaison. He later returned to shore in Japan for one year as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff of Policy, Plans, and Exercises on the staff of Commander, U. S. Naval Forces, Japan. For the last seven months he was assigned temporary duty as the Executive Officer of Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, Navy Data Center, in Yokosuka, Japan. He then served as Executive Officer at Naval Ocean Processing Facility, Dam Neck, until assuming command in November 2017.
Commander Holdaway is privileged to have served on commands that have been awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, and five Battle Efficiency “E” awards. He wears the Meritorious Service Medal and various campaign and personal awards.