Senior officials from the United States, Australia and Indonesia paid their respects to the crews of USS Houston (CA 30) and HMAS Perth (D 29) during a wreath laying ceremony March 1, commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Word War II Battle of Sunda Strait.
In the early morning of March 1, 1942, the cruisers Houston and Perth were sunk by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the Sunda Strait, about 60 nautical miles from Jakarta, Indonesia. During the battle, in which both ships fought to the last of their fuel and ammunition, 696 U.S. Sailors and Marines aboard Houston and 375 Australian sailors aboard Perth, including the captains of both ships, lost their lives. The wrecks remain their final resting places as war graves beneath the sea.
The commemoration featured two wreath-laying ceremonies aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and the Royal Australian Navy Armidale-class patrol boat HMAS Larrakia (ACPB 84). Civilian and military representatives from Australia, Indonesia and the United Kingdom attended the ceremony on Sampson, including Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson.
Two Indonesian navy (TNI-AL) patrol boats escorted the multinational formation through the very waters that Houston and Perth sailed from Jakarta en route to Australia via the Sunda Strait 73 years before.
Following the ceremony, Sampson and Larrakia proceeded into Jakarta for a port visit.
Homeported in San Diego, USS Sampson is conducting an independent deployment to the Western Pacific in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Image: US Navy