USS Houston Wreck ‘Galloping Ghost’ Confirmed As Sunken Word War II Cruiser

The USS Houston wreck in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the sunken World War II vessel “Galloping Ghost,” has been confirmed.

The cruiser was used in the Battle of Sunda Strait on February 28, 1942, and sunk by the Japanese. Out of a crew of 1,068 sailors and Marines, only 291 managed to survive not only the sinking of the ship, but the war itself. The “Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast” took around 700 men with it, and remains an unintentional mass grave.

The commanding officer of the USS Houston, Captain Albert H. Rooks, posthumously received a Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism.

Hull rivets, a metal plate, and still unexploded ordinance, were discovered to have been removed from the USS Houston wreck, and an active oil leak was also discovered. These were the results of an investigation into the condition of the sunken vessel, and were part of the report revealing the cruiser’s true identity.

The mass grave site is in the process of being protected against further intrusion after U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris announced it had been disturbed. He added:

“In my discussions with our Indonesian navy partners, they share our sense of obligation to protect this and other [grave sites]. Surveying the site, of course 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.”

Further diving in what appears to be a popular recreational site may be restricted in order to preserve the memory and honor of those who died in this sovereign property of the United States.

The “Galloping Ghost” was given the nickname possibly for its sunken status off the west coast of Java, Indonesia. It is now part of an agreement between the nations to protect the site.

It is now official that the USS Houston wreck, the sunken World War II cruiser which took the lives of around 700 Marines and sailors, has been found.

[image via cityofart]