2024 Day of Remembrance
Houston, TX-March 1-2, 2024
2023 Day of Remembrance in Houston
| (Left to Right): Donna Mae Flynn, widow of USS Houston (CA-30) Survivor David Flynn; Daniel Swick, grandson of USS Houston (CA-30) Survivor John Reilly; and Teresa Reilly, widow of USS Houston (CA-30) Survivor John Reilly at the 2023 USS Houston (CA-30) annual Memorial Service in Houston, Texas on 4 March 2023. (Photo by Shawn Flynn
Day of Remembrance 2023
By Dana Charles
On 3-4 March 2023, clear and beautiful sunny skies greeted our Association members, families, friends, and representatives of the WWII American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Command during the 2023 “Day of Remembrance” (DOR) weekend in Houston, Texas. The weekend marked the 81st anniversary of the WWII loss of USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth (D-29) at the 28 February-1 March 1942 Battle of Sunda Strait.
On Thursday afternoon, 2 March, the day before the weekend officially began, the Association’s board of managers: Sue Kreutzer, Dana Charles (with his wife, Kathleen), Pam Moura, Bernice Harapat and John K. Schwarz were invited to visit the new USS Houston (CA-30) display at the Consulate of Indonesia in Houston. The beautiful display features a model of the Houston as well as several large, framed pictures of the ship.
We sincerely appreciate the cordial relationship we have with the Honorable Andre Omer Siregar, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia, Houston and his staff, and we thank our hosts on 2 March 2023: Hadyan Tamimi, Vice Consul for Information and Social Culture Affairs, Consulate General of the Republic of At the USS Houston (CA-30) display at the Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia in Houston, Texas on 2 March 2023
(Left to Right): Oktorian S. Hakim; Sue Kreutzer; John K. Schwarz; Dana Charles; Kathleen Charles; and Hadyan Tamimi. (Photo by Muhamad Alamsyah) Indonesia; Oktorian S. Hakim, Consul for Information and Social Culture Affairs, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia; Muhamad Alamsyah, Staff of Information and Social Culture Affairs, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia; and Budiardjo Waluyo, Staff of Information and Social Culture Affairs, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia for their warm hospitality during our visit.
|On Friday, 3 March, a bus, generously provided by the Harris County Precinct Four Transportation Department, brought most DOR attendees to the M.D. Anderson Library at the University of Houston where the library’s Christian D. Kelleher and his staff welcomed us to the “Cruiser Houston Collection.” For only the second time ever, we were invited inside the Cruiser Houston Collection’s “back room” to peruse the collection’s holdings, including original USS Houston-related documents and photos which were placed on display for us to view.
The Association’s Executive Director John K. Schwarz kicked off the Friday night banquet program with the annual year-end report and his introduction of our
Association’s 2023 USS Houston CA-30 Scholarship Award recipient, Michelle Reilly, granddaughter of USS Houston (CA-30) Survivor John Reilly, USN.
Michelle (at left) read aloud her excellent essay, which was well received by all.
Blair Atcheson, (at right) Program Analyst with the Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) Underwater Archeology Branch, Washington, D.C. presented an interesting overview of the NHHC and some preliminary plans for a new US Navy Museum to be built next to the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.; RADM Samuel Cox, USN (retired), Director of the NHHC remarked that the 14-foot-long shipbuilder’s model of USS Houston (CA-30) definitely will be on display at the new museum, which is great news! Blair Atcheson, (at right) Program Analyst with the Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) Underwater Archeology Branch, Washington, D.C. presented an interesting overview of the NHHC and some preliminary plans for a new US Navy Museum to be built next to the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.; RADM Samuel Cox, USN (retired), Director of the NHHC remarked that the 14-foot-long shipbuilder’s model of USS Houston (CA-30) definitely will be on display at the new museum, which is great news!
Anthony Tully, (at left) co-author of Shattered Sword: The True Story of Midway, then spoke about the Pacific War and USS Houston’s contribution to the war effort. The books, documents, photos, maps, and other USS Houston (CA-30)-related materials on display in the Association’s hospitality room at the hotel were as popular as always
On Saturday morning, 4 March, our breakfast gathering featured an interesting Power Point presentation by our Association’s historian Don M. Kehn, Jr. (at right), author of In the Highest Degree Tragic and Blue Sea of Blood. At 12:30 p.m., a bus departed the hotel for the annual USS Houston (CA-30) Memorial Service at the site of the USS Houston (CA-30) Monument in Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston.
The 28th Annual USS Houston (CA-30) Memorial Service was held on 4 March 2023 at the site of the USS Houston (CA-30)
Monument in Sam Houston Park in the City of Houston. John K. Schwarz (at the podium), Executive Director, USS
Houston (CA-30) Survivors’ Association and Next Generations®, served as Master of Ceremonies. (Photo by Shawn Flynn)
The 28th Annual USS Houston (CA-30) Memorial Service
On Saturday afternoon, 4 March, at 1:30 p.m., the Association’s executive director John K. Schwarz again served this year as MC during the 28th annual Memorial Service which, since 1995, has been held at the site of the USS Houston (CA-30) Monument in Houston. The Invocation and Benediction were provided by Commander Jim Sterling, USN (Retired). A Sea Cadet led us in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. A welcome by the City of Houston was provided by Robert Dembo III, (at left) Director of Veterans Affairs, Mayor’s Office.
The excellent speakers representing the WWII ABDA Command included: Commander Chris Emonson, RAN, Assistant Naval Attaché, Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C. (1st on the left) who represented Australia. Representing Britain: Commander Derek Powles, CEng CMarEng MIMechE, Royal Navy, Assistant Naval Attaché, British Embassy, Washington, D.C. (1st on the right); Representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Commander Stefan Luteijn, Royal Netherlands Navy, Naval attaché, Assistant Defence Cooperation Attaché, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Washington, D.C. (3rd from the left); Representing the United States: Rear Admiral Samuel J. Cox, USN (retired), Curator of the Navy and Director of the History and Heritage Command (2nd from the left), and Lieutenant Colonel Russell Fluker, U.S. Marine Corps. (Below, right).
Representing the Republic of Indonesia: the Honorable Andre Omar Siregar, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia, Houston, Texas (at left, photo by Shawn Flynn). The Association’s vice president Dana Charles recited the lyrics to “The Navy Hymn.” The McLemore Detachment, Marine Corps League provided the Rifle Salute. Echo Taps was beautifully provided by The Community Band of Southeast Texas. Matt Rejmaniak led us in singing the National Anthem and “God Bless America,” accompanied by The Community Band of Southeast Texas.
We greatly appreciate all those who laid wreaths at the base of the Monument during the wreath-laying ceremony, including: Donna Mae Flynn and Theresa Reilly; Scott Ingram and Jerry Ranger (at right, photo by Shawn Flynn), representing the Next Generations; Benson Saulo, Consul General of Australia in Houston; Melissa Hutchings, Assistant Consul-General of Australia in Houston; Hadyan Tamimi, Vice Consul for Information and Social Culture Affairs, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Houston; and the Honorable Andre Omer Siregar, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia, Houston; Aura Cuellar, Honorary Consul, Consulate of the Netherlands in Houston; all aforementioned representatives of ABDA; Robert Dembo III of the City of Houston; Steven K. Howell, Officers Commander, the Naval Order of the U.S., Texas Commandery; Steve Cutrer of the U.S. Marine Corps Coordinating Council; Scott Mosely of the McLemore Detachment, Marine Corps League; and Paul Habelko, Board Vice President of the Australian-American Chamber of Commerce. We also wish to thank the wonderful Gideon family for providing refreshments, and the City of Houston and The Heritage Society for their gracious support for the annual USS Houston (CA-30) Memorial Service.
At 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, 4 March, DOR attendees gathered for dinner back at our hotel’s “USS Houston (CA-30) meeting room.” The evening’s program featured a video made during the 1980’s in which several USS Houston (CA-30) Survivors from the San Diego, CA area were interviewed, including: Carl Gunnerson, USN; Lloyd Willey, USMC; Hampton Cray, USMC; James Ballew, USN; Tommy Payne, USN; Slug Wright, Lost Battalion; Hank Allen, USN; Leon Rogers, USN; and Jack Smith, USN. Many thanks to all who attended and/or participated in DOR 2023! We have already begun planning for the 2024 Day of Remembrance gathering to be held in Houston on 1-2 March 2024. Save the dates!
NOW HEAR THIS...
August 30, 2015
On 21 December 2013, the Board of Managers of the U.S.S. Houston CA-30 Survivors' Association and Next Generations™ issued a statement "The Salvage Situation in Sunda Strait," which condemned any salvaging and disturbance of U.S.S. Houston CA-30 and H.M.A.S. Perth D-29, both of which are the final resting places of their respective crewmen who perished during the Battle of Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942.
Our December 2013 statement recognized that, as a matter of law, the U.S. Navy retains possession of U.S.S. Houston CA-30, and that we support the U.S. Navy's policies and procedures regarding diving on any sunken U.S. warship, including U.S.S. Houston CA-30.[1
In addition, our December 2013 statement included the following Position Statement:
<< Approximately 1,000 brave American and Australian servicemen lost their lives when the USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth were sunk in action during the early morning hours of 1 March 1942. The USS Houston (CA-30) Survivors Association & Next Generations considers both these sunken vessels as war graves. Our Association is disturbed over and vehemently condemns any salvaging operations being conducted on USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth. We also object to any unlawful removal of artifacts or disturbance to USS Houston (CA-30). We call upon citizens of all nations to respect and to leave undisturbed the final resting place of those courageous American and Australian crewmen of USS Houston (CA-30) and HMAS Perth who are "still standing watch over Sunda Strait." >>
Much has happened since we issued our December 2013 Position Statement. For example, in June 2014 U.S. Navy and Indonesian divers surveyed U.S.S. Houston CA-30 during operation CARAT (June 2014). Later in 2014, the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) released its final report on the condition of U.S.S. Houston CA-30, which stated: "The operation produced convincing evidence that the wreck of Houston, which serves as the final resting place for hundreds of sailors, contains potentially live ordnance, is seeping oil and is also being irreparably damaged by the unauthorized disturbance of the site."
After various discussions with NHHC officials, and after careful consideration of the evidence produced by the above-mentioned NHHC report, the Board of Managers is very concerned that the wreckage of U.S.S. Houston CA-30 is a safety hazard to any diver, and we have encouraged the NHHC to be as restrictive as possible in granting future diving permits.
In addition, we are announcing today that for legal, liability, safety, and fiduciary reasons we cannot and do not support, or encourage any diving activities whatsoever on U.S.S. Houston CA-30, unless such activities are conducted by the U.S. Navy, or are conducted under the direction or the auspices of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC).
Our Board of Managers continues to endorse its 21 December 2013 statement and we continue to support and to encourage the efforts by the U.S. Navy and the Naval History and Heritage Command in regards to protecting, preserving and documenting the remains of U.S.S. Houston CA-30.
The Board of Managers:
Sue Kreutzer, President
R. Dana Charles, Vice President
Pam Foster, Treasurer
John K. Schwarz, Secretary/Executive Director
USS Houston CA-30 Survivors' Association and Next Generations
Click here to view
The video provides a brief summary of the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Houston (CA-30)’s WWII story, including the story of her March 1, 1942 loss in battle and the struggle of her survivors to endure 3.5 years as POWS of Imperial Japanese forces.
The video also traces the history of the U.S.S. Houston Survivors’ Association and Next Generations® and provides membership information. Books for further information about the ship and her crew are mentioned.
Today, our Association continues to perpetuate the memory of the ship and
her courageous crewmen. Efforts of many others have helped to remember the
ship and her crew, as well. A beautiful Monument stands today in the City of Houston as
a permanent rememberance of USS HOUSTON (CA-30). Names of all crewmen
are inscribed on its sides.
Since the Monument was dedicated in 1995, our Association
members (survivors, as well as family members and friends of those who served aboard
USS HOUSTON) have gathered in March of each year at the monument site to remember
and to honor all of her gallant crew who fought during the HOUSTON's last stand on
1 March 1942. If you'd like to join the Association, click here for a membership form.
Guidelines for Becoming a Board Member
Contact us at email: email@example.com
Now you can contribute to the Association online..
Click here for USS Houston CA-30 Survivors' Association Annual Internal Scholarship Award Application