#WarriorWednesday: U. S. Navy

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March 1915, the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was established by Congress.

The CNO is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the US Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the Secretary. Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert is the current CNO.

Tingey House, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. View of the Quarters of the Chief of Naval Operations. This house was constructed between 1804 and 1807 in Georgian Style and changes in “Victorian” style were made in 1861. Photographed circa 1979. National Archives photograph, KN 27600 (Color).  Note: Tingey House became the official residence of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1977.

Tingey House, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. View of the Quarters of the Chief of Naval Operations. This house was constructed between 1804 and 1807 in Georgian Style and changes in “Victorian” style were made in 1861. Photographed circa 1979. National Archives photograph, KN 27600 (Color).
Note: Tingey House became the official residence of the Chief of Naval Operations in 1977.

Adm. William S. Benson, USN. 1st Chief of Naval Operations, 11 May 1915 – 25 September 1919. Portrait by Eleanor R. Beckham, 1960. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77665-KN (Color). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donated by the Benson Family, 1960.

Adm. William S. Benson, USN. 1st Chief of Naval Operations, 11 May 1915 – 25 September 1919. Portrait by Eleanor R. Beckham, 1960. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 77665-KN (Color). Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. Donated by the Benson Family, 1960.

Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, USN. 15th Chief of Naval Operations from 17 August 1955 to 01 August 1961. Portrait photograph, dated 15 December 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, KN-12924 (Color)

Adm. Arleigh A. Burke, USN. 15th Chief of Naval Operations from 17 August 1955 to 01 August 1961. Portrait photograph, dated 15 December 1958. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, KN-12924 (Color)

Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, USN. 25th Chief of Naval Operations from 23 April 1994 to 16 May 1996. Admiral Boorda address the crew on board USS Constellation (CV 64) circa 1995. DOD Still Media Photograph: DN-SC-96-00079.

Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, USN. 25th Chief of Naval Operations from 23 April 1994 to 16 May 1996. Admiral Boorda address the crew on board USS Constellation (CV 64) circa 1995. DOD Still Media Photograph: DN-SC-96-00079.

Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, USN. Nimitz was promoted to Fleet Admiral on 19 December 1944 . 10th Chief of Naval Operations from 15 December 1945 to 15 December 1947. Portrait by Seymour Stone, 1946. Courtesy of the Artist.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive, 80-G-K-14615 (Color).

Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, USN. Nimitz was promoted to Fleet Admiral on 19 December 1944 . 10th Chief of Naval Operations from 15 December 1945 to 15 December 1947. Portrait by Seymour Stone, 1946. Courtesy of the Artist.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive, 80-G-K-14615 (Color).

‘Enemy Forces Engaged,’ USS Houston Fought Insurmountable Odds

USS Houston (CA 30), starboard view. Undated and unknown location. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

USS Houston (CA 30), starboard view. Undated and unknown location. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

In the finest of naval traditions the crew of USS Sampson (DDG 102), along with others, honors their fellow U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy shipmates from USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) during a wreath laying ceremony.

Read more about how Houston and Perth fought against insurmountable odds during World War II‬.

…in remembrance of the 1,082 brave men of the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA 30).

It was in the early hours of March 1st, 73 years ago, that she sailed for the final time into the teeth of enemy fire. While heading for the Sunda Strait, and in concert with the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth, she ran into the main Japanese invasion force then landing on the island of Java. This force consisted, in its entirety, of one light carrier, one seaplane carrier, five cruisers, 12 destroyers, a mine-layer and 58 troopships.

Low on fuel and with her after turret out of action, this as a result of earlier damage sustained at the Battle of Makassar Strait, Houston, along with Perth, entered the fray. The last message anyone would ever hear from these ships was a radio transmission sent by Houston; the message read “Enemy forces engaged.”

Perth went down first, fighting to the end, but even the heroism of her crew could not overcome four torpedo strikes and untold hits by enemy cannon. When Perth succumbed, 353 men went down with her including her commanding officer, Capt. Hector Waller.

Battle of Sunda Strait, 28 February – 1 March 1942. Painting by John Hamilton depicting USS Houston (CA 30) in her final action with Japanese forces. Courtesy of the US Navy Memorial Foundation. Painting from the John Hamilton collection. (Courtesy of NHHC Art Gallery/Hampton Roads Naval Museum)

Battle of Sunda Strait, 28 February – 1 March 1942. Painting by John Hamilton depicting USS Houston (CA 30) in her final action with Japanese forces. Courtesy of the US Navy Memorial Foundation. Painting from the John Hamilton collection. (Courtesy of NHHC Art Gallery/Hampton Roads Naval Museum)

Houston was now left alone, surrounded by enemy ships and aircraft. In quick succession she was hit by shell and torpedo but continued to fight on. Some time after 01:30, having been hit scores of times, faced with extensive flooding below decks, out of ammunition for her main guns, and with fires raging out of control, Capt. Albert Rooks, the commanding officer, gave the order to abandon ship. Only minutes later he was killed by an exploding Japanese shell.

Houston was bathed in the glare of Japanese searchlights, still under heavy fire and settling by the bow when her surviving crew gave her to the sea. As she began her final plunge one survivor wrote that “it seemed as a sudden breeze picked up the Stars and Stripes, still firmly blocked on the mainmast, and waved them in one last defiant gesture.” Other survivors saw red tracer fire still spitting out of a machine gun platform as one lone Marine, Gunnery Sgt. Walter Standish, true to the traditions of the Corps continued firing until the sea took him.

Some 675 Sailors and Marines died with Houston. Most of these men were killed during her final battle, were taken down with the ship or died when the pitiless tide washed them into the vast Indian Ocean but others were machine gunned as they swam helpless in the water.

The 366 survivors were taken into captivity, but their ordeal was far from over. Many would end up in POW camps in Burma, where they were forced, under inhuman conditions, to construct the infamous Burma Railway. Of this handful of survivors a further 76 died of sickness, abuse, torture, hunger and neglect. At war’s end in 1945 only 290 men remained, many broken in body but not in spirit, to return to the United States. Think of them, for they paid the full price in defense of our freedoms.

As one of the survivors later wrote —“Well Done , Well Done!”

Images from the USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) wreath laying ceremony:

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73 and Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, observe a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73 and Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, observe a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Matthew Schneider.

 (Mar. 1, 2015) - (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Ambassador Paul Grigson, ambassador designate of the Embassy of Australia in Indonesia, Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73, conduct a media availability after a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – (from the left) Cmdr. Steven Foley, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), Ambassador Paul Grigson, ambassador designate of the Embassy of Australia in Indonesia, Ambassador Robert Blake, ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, and Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73, conduct a media availability after a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), bottom, the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top left, and Indonesian Navy vessels participate in a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102), bottom, the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top left, and Indonesian Navy vessels participate in a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84) conduct a wreath laying ceremony held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

 (Mar. 1, 2015) - Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top, participate in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Australian Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84), top, participate in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait. Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, salute during the playing of taps aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) - Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, bow their heads during a moment of silence aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

(Mar. 1, 2015) – Participants in a wreath laying ceremony, held in commemoration of the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Sunda Strait, bow their heads during a moment of silence aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102). Representatives from Australia, the U.S. and Indonesia visited the graves of HMAS Perth (D 29) and USS Houston (CA 30) which were sunk fighting Japanese naval forces March 1, 1942. More than 1,000 Australian and U.S. Sailors gave their lives during the battle. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christopher Perez.

March 1942, the first U-boat sunk by U.S. forces in World War II.

US Navy‬ Reserve pilot Ensign William Tepuni, flying a Lockheed Hudson reconnaissance, light bombing and transport aircraft (PBO) from VP-82 squadron attacks and sinks German submarine U 656 southwest of Newfoundland.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber. NHHC Photograph Collection, Visual-Aid Cards, Aviation.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber. NHHC Photograph Collection, Visual-Aid Cards, Aviation.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber.  Photographed circa 1942-43.  NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 94913.

Lockheed PBO “Hudson” Patrol Bomber.
Photographed circa 1942-43.
NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 94913.

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Fair Winds and Following Seas‬ to U.S. Army Reserve Veteran‬ and actor‪ Leonard Nimoy‬. Scotty … one shipmate to beam up.‪ Live Long And Prosper.‬

This laser disc is part of the U.S. Navy Artifact collection and is a limited edition for the movie StarTrek‬ VI The Undiscovered Country, displayed aboard USS Enterprise‬ (CVN 65).

Crash

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