At the site where the marker now stands, 1,000 people from Houston took the oath of service and joined the US Navy. They would go onto to crew the USS Houston, which was lost in the Battle of the Java Sea.
The Battle of the Java Sea occurred during the Pacific
campaign of World War II. It was a huge loss for the Allies and resulted in
Japanese occupation of the Netherlands East Indies. The battle occurred on
February 27, 1942 and lasted seven hours. During this time,
American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM) Strike Force Commander
Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman’s striking force attempted to advance upon and
attack the Imperial Japanese Navy’s invasion fleet. Japan’s escort force
thwarted these attempts and the Allies suffering heavy losses. Doorman and the
majority of his crew died when the De
The Japanese escort force protecting the convoy consisted of
two heavy and two light cruisers and fourteen destroyers. The ABDA force was
made of two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and nine destroyers. The Japanese Navy was more heavily
armed, contributing greatly to the Allied Force’s crippling defeat. Each
Japanese Navy heavy cruiser was armed with ten 8-inch guns and superior torpedoes. The Allied Forces’ Exeter was
armed with only six 8-inch guns. The
Houston carried nine 8-inch guns, only six of which still worked after one
of the turrets was knocked out in an air attack. The poor coordination between
the Allied navies and air forces during the battle is also cited as
contributing to the defeat.
The Battle of Java Sea led to subsequent battles including
the Battle of Sunda Strait and Second Java Sea Battle on February 28. The
Battle of Sunda Strait resulted in the sinking of the Perth and the Houston just
after midnight on March 1.