Navy: Java Sea Wreck Is Grave of 700
USS Houston was lost in 1942 battle
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2014 3:28 AM CDT
Updated Aug 23, 2014 11:53 AM CDT
Military officers and a US diplomat pass a wreath to sailors assigned to the Mobile Diving Salvage Unit near Java, Indonesia.    (AP Photo/US Navy)

(Newser) – More than 70 years after the heavy cruiser nicknamed the "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" was sunk by the Japanese, divers have confirmed that they have found its wreck. The USS Houston was found in the Java Sea; officials say there is oil seeping from the hull and the site has been disturbed, with unexploded ordnance removed from the ship, the AP reports. The wreck is the grave of around 700 sailors and Marines and the commander of the US Pacific Fleet says the US will work with the Indonesian Navy to protect the site from further disturbance.

Surveying the site "was only the first step in partnering to respect those sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the freedoms and security that we richly enjoy today," the commander said in a statement. The ship went down during the Battle of Sunda Strait in February, 1942. Out of 1,068 crewmen on board, just 291 survived and were not taken as prisoners of war. The cruiser's commander, Capt. Albert H. Rooks, was killed during the battle and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. (Last month, a team looking for shipwrecks in Lake Ontario discovered a crashed military plane.)

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Showing 3 of 18 comments
Aug 23, 2014 12:52 PM CDT
Yeah, the article is quite a mess; the source article too. The ship is relatively shallow and has been a dive site for years. Damage has been done. They point to a missing plate where somebody probably popped the rivets to gain entry. They say ordnance was taken; not impossible but I doubt it. Both locals and tourists can reach it easily, and it's likely a good place to fish. Just sounds like the USN and the local government want to figure out how to keep it from being picked over. Short of outlawing the site, good luck with that. In another 50 years it will be an impenetrable heap anyway.
Aug 23, 2014 12:46 PM CDT
Why does the Captain deserve the Metal Of Honor any more than the others on the ship?
Aug 20, 2014 2:48 PM CDT
I'm a little confused as this article sounds as though the ship has just been found when in fact it's whereabouts have been known for years. There have been numerous dives on the wreck over the last ten years that I know of. This link will provide some info: