The present work confines itself to the study of the initiation and early propagation of fatigue cracks emanating from simulated fastener holes using a laser speckle method that is a noncontact, nondestructive, and remote sensing technique. When illuminated by a narrow laser beam, the fatigue-induced surface roughness causes the laser beam to diffract into a halo modulated by a random speckle pattern. The fatigue damage information is contained in the speckle diffraction pattern. The half width and cross correlation coefficient of a speckle pattern are chosen to quantify this information. Two kinds of specimens, a thin plate with an open hole in the center and a thin plate with an oversized pin impacted into a central hole, were tested. The fatigue process was monitored by the laser speckle patterns. After crack propagation, the specimens were examined under a scanning electron microscope and their fractographic features correlated with the fatigue process.