Monday, August 28, 2006

Ship of Ghosts Due out October 31

A notice of the new book by Jim Hornfishcer is shown here. (Ship of Ghosts) Read the review in Publisher's Weekly. Otto Schwarz was able to have much of the proofed book read to him in his last days. He was very complimentary of the writing and the detail presented. Another book about the Asiatic Fleet was also recently published. It is titled "Playing for Time" and is written Capt. Wicke Alford who served in the 4 Piper - the Stewart. His narrative encompasses every ship in the Asiatic Fleet as best I can tell. I can heartily recommend both of these books to those who wish to understand the history of those challenging times.

The Arlington Funeral for Otto

The Funeral for Otto will be at Arlington Cemetary at 12:30PM on September 11, 2006. For more about the arrangements contact Val Poss.

HMAS PERTH III is Commissioned

The weather was perfect and the commissioning of HMAS Perth III was an event to remember. The Navy band complete with vocalist who sang Advance Australia Fair, We Are Australian and the navy prayer Eternal Father Strong to Save so beautifully. All the traditions of a commissioning were observed and attended by dignitaries of the highest order. The chief of the defence forces was present amongst others. (From Julie - via Lin Drees)
HMAS Perth was commissioned at Fremantle this morning and will be deployed within Australian waters and overseas.
She is the third RAN ship to bear that name. (The FIRST HMAS Perth Died fighting alongside USS Houston in Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942.) "We are extremely proud to join the ranks of Australia's fighting elite and will fulfil our duties in the tradition of those who served on Perth I and II before us", Commander Simon Gregg said. Anzacs are 3600 tonne long-range escorts capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and underwater.They are fitted with radars, omni-directional hull mounted sonar and torpedoes.The ships can travel at speeds faster than 27 knots and have an operational range of more than 6000 nautical miles. Several other Anzac Frigates have been deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of Australia's defence activities in the region.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In China in the 1930's

The USS Houston in her coloruful days with the Asiatic Fleet. In August, Jerry Ranger, son of John Ranger (survivor-deceased) headed up a dive team with National Geographic and Historical Archivists to photograph and map out some of the interior with a robot camera. Alas, an obscure Navy department with obviously no prior understanding of the survivor's association or the ship's history, blocked the attempt to record photos. We think this may have been the last best chance to gather information from the wreck - especially the interior. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jerry Ranger Diving on USS Houston

Jerry Ranger, son of USS Houston crew member John Ranger, has arrived in Jakarta where he and several other dive team members are preparing to dive on the USS Houston. The dive team will be anchored in a boat over the Houston for 8 days. They expect to remotely photograph some of the inside of the ship using a special piece of equipment called a "VideoRay" as well as film the outside of the ship using an underwater video camera.

"These pictures will be shown at the next (USS Houston) reunion in Houston, Texas," Ranger said. "This trip is for the remaining 39 survivors and to save some World War II history of the USS Houston."

See the following website for more on this story.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Otto Schwarz

Otto Schwarz passed away on August 3, 2006. Otto started the USS Houston Survivors Association and was a devoted and tireless worker. We owe him a debt of gratitude for all he did to make it "happen". Our love and condolences to his family and especially his wonderful wife, Trudy.
Otto's son, John, writes:
"The good Lord has finally led him to peace.

The Schwarz family is more thankful than sorrowful. Our father was afforded a good, long life. It was longer(at age 82) than would be expected for a man who not only survived the sinking of his ship, but three and a half years as a prisoner of war during WWII....

Otto Carl Schwarz was a good man and the best father a son could ever ask for.

His final resting place will be Arlington National Cemetery, following an approximate 4-6 week waiting period. I intend to inform everyone of the particulars as that time gets closer. My family and I offer welcome to those who would like to attend the services at Arlington.

I thank you all again from the bottom of my heart for your support and concern."

Max Wilker

Max Wilker passed away on July 3, 2006, of heart disease. Our love and sincere condolences to his family.