In collaboration with the USS Houston CA-30 Survivors Association, the Houston Maritime Museum has opened our new exhibit “USS Houston: Ships Named in Honor.” This exhibit not only tells the unique histories of the four ships that have been named USS Houston, but also the heart-wrenching saga of the brave men who fought against all odds during WWII.
This permanent exhibit is centered around the heavy cruiser USS Houston CA-30 and her crew who fought in the opening chaotic months of the Pacific War. While defending the island of Java, the Houston and the Australian cruiser Perth encountered a powerful Japanese invasion fleet during the night of February 28, 1942. Fighting an unwinnable battle, both cruisers sought to do as much damage as possible to the troop transports offloading Japanese soldiers. The brave crews of both ships could only delay the inevitable and by the early hours of March 1, the Japanese Navy sank both the Perth and the Houston. Survivors of both ships had to endure a new hell; captivity and forced labor at the hands of the Japanese military until the war’s end in 1945.
Members of the Survivor’s Association visited the museum to attend a special lecture and preview the new exhibit. Houston Maritime staff was honored to participate in ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Houston’s loss. On Saturday, March 4, 2017, staff attended the memorial service at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. Museum Director Leslie Bowlin laid a wreath at the base of the USS Houston memorial to honor the crew and their sacrifices.
Excerpt taken from The Anchor Newsletter, February/March, 2017.