Allied Warships

USS Houston (i) (CA 30)

Heavy cruiser of the Northampton class

NavyThe US Navy
TypeHeavy cruiser
PennantCA 30 
Built byNewport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. (Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.) 
Laid down1 May 1928 
Launched7 Sep 1929 
Commissioned17 Jun 1930 
Lost1 Mar 1942 
Loss position5° 50'S, 105° 55'E

USS Houston (Capt. Albert Harold Rooks) was sunk by torpedoes and gunfire from Japanese heavy crusiers Mogami and Mikuma, light cruiser Natori and 10 destroyers in the Soenda Strait in position 05º50'S, 105º55'E.

The USS Houston sank in only 20 minutes, sending 643 men to their deaths with only 368 survivors, of which were captured by the Japanese, and 77 of which died in captivity.


Commands listed for USS Houston (i) (CA 30)

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1Capt. Jesse Bishop Gay, USN17 Jun 193018 Nov 1930

2Capt. Jesse Barrett Oldendorf, USN16 Oct 193930 Aug 1941
3Capt. Albert Harold Rooks, USN30 Aug 19411 Mar 1942 (+)

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Notable events involving Houston (i) include:

4 Feb 1942
At 0130 hours, the Dutch light cruisers HrMs De Ruyter (Cdr. E.E.B. Lacomblé, RNN and flagship of Rear-Admiral K.W.F.M. Doorman, RNN), HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) and the Dutch destroyers HrMs Piet Hein (Lt.Cdr. J.M.L.I. Chompff, RNN), HrMs Banckert (Lt.Cdr. L.J. Goslings, RNN) and HrMs Van Ghent (Lt.Cdr. P. Schotel, RNN) departed their anchorage to the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) for the Java Sea.

At 0500 hours they made rendes-vous with the US heavy cruiser USS Houston (Capt. A.H. Rooks, USN), the US light cruiser USS Marblehead (Capt. A.G. Robinson, USN) and their escorting destroyers USS Stewart (Lt.Cdr. H.P. Smith, USN), USS John D. Edwards (Lt.Cdr. H.E. Eccles, USN), USS Barker (Lt.Cdr. A.J. Miller, USN) and USS Bulmer (Lt.Cdr. D.A. Harris, USN). These American ships had also been anchored the north of of Gili Raja Island (Pulau Gili Raja) but had left a little earlier then the Dutch ships. The mission of the joint Dutch-US task force was a 'hit and run' raid into Strait Makassar.

Around 0955 hours the task force came under air attack in the by the Japanese in the Bali Sea in approximate position 07°28'S, 115°37'E and USS Houston and USS Marblehead were damaged. Houston was hit on the roof of her rear 8" gun turret heavily damaging it and it could not be repaired. (When USS Houston sank about four weeks later she still had only two operational 8" gun turrets). USS Marblehead was hit twice and also straddled and received serious damage resulting in that she had to be sent to the USA for repairs. The raid into Makassar Stait was now cancelled.

USS Houston had been sent towards Tjilatjap (Cilacap) on the south coast of Java for repairs. USS Tromp was later ordered to give her protection during her passage there and proceeded after her. She caught up with her to the south of Atlas Stait and both ships then proceeded in company until 0000/5 when Tromp left USS Houston again and proceeded to re-join the task force as ordered which she did at 1325/5 when she made rendes-vous with HrMs De Ruyter and the three Dutch destroyers. (1)

Media links

Ship of Ghosts

James D. Hornfischer
($ 18.41)
(£ 13.55)
(EUR 16.99)

Battle to Save the Houston

Miller, John Grider
($ 17.95)
(£ 12.97)
(EUR 15.99)


  1. Files and (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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