Nov 6

Damage Control in the USS Houston

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:24 AM

By

RADM George H. Miller

Rear Admiral George H. Miller

During World War II, the U.S. Navy had two ships in commission named Houston. The first, CA-30, fought at the27 February 1942 Battle of the Java Sea before being sunk at Sunda Strait on the night of 28 February—1 March. The second World War II Houston, CL81, was commissioned on 20 December 1943.

In this Naval Institute oral history excerpt, future Rear Admiral George H. Miller recounts the torpedoing of the second Houston in October of 1944, off the coast of Formosa. Miller, then a damage control officer, describes a harrowing attack, leaving the ship severely damaged and flooding rapidly. While assessing the damage, Miller determined the ship had “more water on board in comparison with our displacement than any other ship that survived in World War II.”

Miller’s early years in the Navy included service in the USS California (BB-44), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), Zane (DD-337), Goff (DD-247), Gilmer (DD-233), St. Louis (DD-233), and Houston (CL-81). Miller was XO of the Houston the latter period of the war. Later tours were: plans officer for President of Naval War College; CO of the Hollister (DD-788) during Korean War; plans officer, Commander Joint Task Force 7; Head, Strategic Studies Board, CNO; Commander Surface Striking Forces, Seventh Fleet; and several positions in strategic warfare, finally as continued on active duty as Naval Advisor to Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs.

Extensive torpedo damage to the stern and rudder of USS Houston (CL-81) after being struck on 16 October 1944.

Extensive torpedo damage to the stern and rudder of the USS Houston (CL-81) after being torpedoed in October 1944.

 

To read more about the Naval Institute Oral History Program, go to https://www.usni.org/heritage/oral-history-catalog.

 

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