“The galloping Ghost of the Java Coast





ELEC. MATE 1/C United States Navy

-         September 1937-March 1, 1942

-         Born: May 18, 1920

Parents: Harry M. and Louise I. Prescher


Graduated from Stewartville High School - Stewartville, Minnesota, in May 1937 as Valvectorion and American Legion Honor student reward medal. During his High School years he was the president of his Junior high class and a star football and basketball player; also a member of the high school band, playing trumpet which he carried into his Navy service entertaining his fellow crew members. He enlisted in the Navy, from Rochester, Minnesota in August 1937, went to Great Lakes Naval Station, September 1937 and assigned to the cruiser USS Houston in July 1938. Harold had the honor of being a sailor on the USS Houston when President Roosevelt took his more than 25,000 mile cruise on the Houston from July 16th to August 9, 1938.

Harold graduated from a Naval Electrical School and Motion Picture/Sound school in 1938 and was assigned to the "Asiatic Fleet" in Manila in 1940. In the summer of 1941 he re-enlisted for 2 years so he could stay on the Houston as it was assigned to visit China on a goodwill trip in late 1941. In October 1941 he sent home all of his personal letters/photographs etc., tailored dress blue 'uniforms, his will and "thoughts" to his parents and told them of the coming war in the Pacific.

He was last seen in the water, after the sinking of the Houston, by H.A. Levitt, a survivor who kept a manuscript log book of his internment, and mentioned he was holding onto Harold (who didn't have a lifevest) and in the confusion they were separated and he didn't see him again.


Written by: Arva L. Prescher Kvam