Sometime in 1947/48 while speaking with my wife I expressed sadness that the crew of the USS Houston had served in peacetime together, fought a war together, were sunk and taken prisoners of war for 3 ½ years together, and yet were scattered all over the world, and would probably never be in touch with each other again. My wife challenged me by replying, “Why don’t you do something about that?”

I had brought home from the prison camp a little booklet with six names and addresses in it. I wrote to those six men and asked if they had brought any names home, and would they please respond and help me in finding the rest of the 268 survivors. It took about 15 months for these men to be located. They responded and my worldwide search began. Most of the other men had remained in the Navy and were scattered all over the world. It took about 20 years until all had been found.

I started corresponding with these men and that resulted in a quarterly newsletter to all during this time. I also started getting letters from next of kin families who had read my name somewhere, or heard about what I was doing. They were hungry for any word about what had happened to their loved one or his ship. The only information they had was a telegram from the Navy Department informing them that their loved one was MIA or killed in action. This opened up an entire new avenue for me, so I began attempting to put these NOK families in touch with someone who might have known their loved one. I was successful in a number of cases, and the thrill of accomplishing this was indescribable. It drove me to devote my life to the memory of the USS Houston, her crew and their families. Thus the USS Houston Survivors Assn. was born.
Since those early days in1947/48, the quarterly newsletter The Bluebonnet, a copy of the original USS Houston newsletter printed aboard, began. My efforts grew to a circulation of almost 500 copies quarterly.

In addition to the newsletter, our Association has been responsible for many activities and events of interest to the survivors and NOK’s. We became the respository for USS Houston material; photographs, diaries and stories as well as the center for information about the Houston and the prisoner of war camps. A number of authors have used our material and location to begin their books, and a number of television shows have done coverage here such as Dan Rather (CBS), Peter Jennings (ABC), and others. The Navy Department has used us to invite USS Houston Survivors and NOK’s to important events like the launching and commissioning of the USS Houston SSN-713 submarine, and the USS Rentz FFG-46. We have been invited to visit aboard these ships which have histories connected with the CA-30, and have gone to sea on the Rentz.
The Assn. has been directly responsible for memorializing the USS Houston and crew in many ways and places. We have placed a number of plaques in the Peace Wall at The Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg, Texas; planted a tree and bronze plaque in Arlington National Cemetery, participated in the building and dedication of a magnificent Monument in downtown Houston, and in cooperation with the 131st Field Artillery in Texas, placed a beautiful monument in The National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).

by Otto Schwarz

Realizing that the original survivors will soon be gone we planned to have the memory kept alive by the formation of “The Next Generations”.

Some of the significant accomplishments realized by the Next Generations since the gracious handing off of the Survivors Association by its founders include:
•To date, ‘internal’ scholarships have been awarded in excess of $37,250.00 for the education of the descendants of our beloved crew.
•A permanent USS Houston CA-30 scholarship at the Naval Academy has assisted 7 Naval Officers, 1 Marine Officer and 1 Midshipman.
•The refurbished and cased display of the original 14-foot ship-builders model of the USS Houston CA-30 at Navy Yard in Washington, DC.
•The refurbished and cased display of a custom built 6-foot replica ship model of the USS Houston CA-30 on display in the ‘Legacy Room’, City Hall, Houston, Texas
•Support for the creation of a USS Houston/HMAS Perth Memorial at the US Embassy in Jakarta.
•The sound relationship built with the U.S. Navy and other entities dedicated to protecting the sanctity and integrity of shipwreck Houston.

There have been other things but the above alone demonstrate focus on a vision and perseverance. We all owe this to the legacy of those great men aboard that brave ship and the lessons we learned from them.
With continued generosity and support by our Association members, we will continue to the mission established by our founders for the USS Houston CA-30 Survivors' Association & Next Generations:

‘To perpetuate the memory of the USS Houston CA-30, the ship, her captain & crew’

by John Keith Schwarz- son of the late USS Houston CA-30 survivor Otto C. Schwarz and Trudy Schwarz

Contact USS Houston CA-30 Survivors' Association and Next Generations with queries about a loved one. Email them to contact@usshouston.org

Board of Managers 

 Executive Director: John Schwarz Son of USN survivor Otto Schwarz and Trudy Schwarz Association strategy/outreach, Special Projects, Scholarship Committee, Merchandise Email: john@usshouston.org President: Sue Kreutzer Daughter of USN survivor Paul Papish Webmaster, archives, membership, Scholarship Committee Email: sue@usshouston.org Vice President: Dana Charles Son of USMC survivor Bob Charles Crew and POW camp records, Blue Bonnet Editor, researcher, correspondent Email:dana@usshouston.org Treasurer: Pam Moura Daughter of USN survivor Eugene Crispi Financial and IRS records, Scholarship Committee Email: pam@usshouston.org Secretary: Bernice Harapat Daughter of KNIL POW Survivor Willem Terluin Special Projects, Scholarship Committee Email: bernice@usshouston.org