USS HOUSTON CA 30
“The galloping Ghost of the Java Coast”
Howard E Brooks
10.30.1919 joined the US Navy September 11th 1939, boot camp: Norfolk VA.
board the USS Pyro, an ammo ship,
went to west coast. On board the USS
Portland, CA33, went to Hawaii,
Pearl Harbor. At Pearl
Harbor permanent assignment to USS Houston, CA30, early 1940,
Captain of the ship was Jessie Oldendorf.
to Philippines, Manila and relieved USS
Augusta, CA31. Captain A.H. Rooks
became Captain of USS Houston. I was assigned to Second Division, our territory
was Quarter Deck. My battle station was Trainer in Turret number two. Because
of my frequent requests and refusals to be transferred to E Division, Lt
Commander Gingras (ship senior eng officer) advised
me to start studying and take the exam for EM3/C. I did, and in late 1940
became EM3/c and was transferred to E Division. My battle station became “After
Damage Control Party”. Our location during battle was on the 2nd
deck and just forward, but immediately against, the number three turret.
February 4th when the first bomb that hit us knocked out number
three turret, just a very short time before that bomb hit us, our damage party
leader, J.B. Bienert ask for two electricians to go
forward to a problem, Larry Wargowesky and I were
asked to go. Of course we went. But while we were away the bomb hit the Turret.
When we returned to the area we saw that the bomb explosion had killed all of
the After Damage Control Party, except me and Larry.