Thursday, November 29, 2007

Insightful Notes from Lynn Drees

Dear Friend, Survivor John Hood - As many of you know, John passed away Friday, November 23, 2007 - I wrote the following to his sister, Carol, via email: "If ya'll reminisce, please tell (or have your sister, Alberta, tell) the hair dryer story. One year John forgot to get reservations for the reunion; he arrived @ the hotel; it was full, but they had some small apartments next door - and offered John an apartment. Well, on Sunday, as everyone was leaving, John came up to me - and said - 'Wonderful wk-end, but I have one complaint.' Shocked, I said, 'yes, John, what was wrong?' He said 'the hair dryer in my room did not work!' - and, knowing his hair status, we both started laughing. That became a joke each year - with me, always asking John if the hair dryer in his room was working this year! I loved him!!!! Thanks for sharing him w/ us, Next Generationers"

Carol responded with "Lin, Oh, we do know that story, John told us about that, and he always laughed."

John will be missed as are all our loved USS HOUSTON men who are now standing watch at Sunda Strait. We also miss the men who cannot now attend the reunions - and remember, fondly, when they were able to attend.

BUGLER - With Internet, Val receives many questions - one recently related to the ship's bugler - I asked David Flynn what he remembered. Here is what he said: "The ship's bugler was Joseph G. Alleva. He was killed on a Japanese prison ship 24 June 1944 in the South China Sea. Aboard ship (the Houston) he'd occasionally hit a wrong note, blowing taps, etc. When criticized, he'd say, 'for 32 bucks a month you don't get Benny Goodman.' Prior to entering the Navy, he worked in a bank as a sort of doorman, director, etc. He and Gene Crispi were great friends and would argue at length. .....'and that's all I have to say about that'....."

I remember Jim Ballew, Navy, telling me that he and my cousin, James Raydell Wilson, Marine, aboard the HOUSTON, would spend some of their POW time arguing, just to pass the time of day. Once, he said that the argument led to fighting - he said, "here we were 2 'skinny' POWs, trying to fight!" Sadly my cousin passed away as a POW before I was born - but with reminiscing with Jim, I came to know some about my cousin.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dive Team News - March 09 Dive

I just received word that the U.S. Navy permit for VideoRay ROV to entered the USS HOUSTON CA-30 to take photographs of the inside of the ship, has been approved and I will be receiving the Official letter in the mail in a week or so. I would like to Thank Val for her help getting the information and blue prints to me when we were in the last stage of completing the permit with Barbara Voulgaris in Washington. I would like to thank Barbara and Wendy for there help in getting this permit through there office in a timely manner. Most of all, I would like to thank VideoRay WWW.VIDEORAY.COM for supporting us on the last dive in 2006 and the upcoming dive in March 2008. With out VideoRay donation of airline tickets, equipment and two Rov operators, this upcoming dive trip would not be possibly. I would like to thank the above USS HOUSTON FAMILY for their donation. We were able to paid for the dive boat again so that the dive team could stay out over the USS HOUSTON supporting the VideoRay Rov operators while they entered and photograph the USS HOUSTON. I still need more donations to help with other items of the trip to make sure that we can support the VideoRay ROV operators to make this dive trip a success in getting the photographs of the inside of the ship for the Survivors and Houston’ family.

At this time the USS HOUSTON DIVE TEAM is made up of the following people:
Jerry Ranger, team leader. Jolene Ranger, diver. Brad Gift, assist team leader, Eunju gift, diver, David Phillips, lead VideoRay Rov operator/diver, Tom Crossman, VideoRay Rov operator/diver, Daniel Tangguh, diver

If anyone else is thinking about joining the team or being there onboard the dive ship while operations are being conducted, I needed to know so I can make sure there is space and transportation out to the dive boat for you. Contact me at: or Phone number 850 623 3399.

As it looks now, the dive team will be over the USS HOUSTON on March 1. 2008 to March 10, 2008.

I will be working on dive tee shirt for the upcoming dive. If you would like to order one, please send me your name and sizes so I can sure you get a dive tee shirt when I order them at .

We are still working on a DVD form the 2006 dive and hope to have it down to an hour, so that the Houston’s family can see it at the reunion.

There is still a lot of work to be done for the dive trip to make sure it goes off, so I will be busy right up to the time we put our gear on the airplane and head to Java. I hope to see ya’ll at the 2008 reunion in Houston. Dive team out for now.

Jerry Ranger USN RET Son of the late John W. Ranger
Survivor off the Uss Houston CA-30
Uss Houston Dive Team Leader

Thursday, October 18, 2007

4000 Bowls of RIce

The new paperback edition of my book, 4000 BOWLS OF RICE, has just been released (Brick Tower, Press, NY, $14.95. The new cover has s wonderful endorsement by Otto, and of course the book is full of quotes from Otto and some of his Houston and Texas 131st fellow POWs on the Railway. I hope to arrange a little do at the Australian consulate here in NYC (they did a lovely launch of this book back in 1994), and hope to have Trudy and maybe some of the family there. I'll be sending her an autographed copy, needless to say! Best regards, Linda
FROM LINDA GOETZ HOLMES. (The hardback is noted in the library - resources at

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ranger and The Dive Team

News from the USS HOUSTON Dive Team
A VideoRay Presentation: Click HERE by Jerry Ranger

At this time I’m working on getting up another dive trip to Jakarta to finish the dive trip that was stopped in 2006. I have started to work on getting the permits that we will need to let us dive deep inside the ship to find the Officer’s stateroom that was opened by another dive team. I have been on the phone with the Navy and they are working with me to make sure nothing goes wrong on this next trip.

I have been in contact with David Phillips who was the one that controlled the VideoRay ROV on the ship. He has informed me that we can use the VideoRay equipment and possibly a side band sonar to make passes over the USS HOUSTON to give us a look at her on the bottom of the bay. This will also show the items that may be away from the ship on the bottom, like the engine from the SOC aircraft. The tuba from the band room that has been touched by a diver that I talked to over in Jakarta but he could not remove it from the sandy bottom. VideoRay has been very helpful.

I also have been in touch with Daniel in Jakarta about the trip and he is working on getting the same boat for the dive again. He also stated that he will be glad to help us when we arrive in Jakarta. Daniel has the air tanks and compressor for us to use when we get over there.

I have emailed Brad Gift in Korea, about the dive in March 2008, at this time he believes that his wife and he will be with me on the next dive trip on the USS HOUSTON.


I wanted to ask the Houston’s family first, if there is any SCUBA diver that would like to go on this dive trip, to get in contact with me. They will have to pay there own way over (plane ticket, food and hotel, etc) and some on the dive boat. You can contact me at

this is a hard dive, with strong currents and not for the rookie diver. I will be also contacting other divers that I know that have dove on the USS HOUSTON before from around the world to help make up the team. I need a back-up divers for safety reasons.



The son of a survivor of the USS Houston, CA30, completed his dives on the ship March 6-18, 2004. The Houston was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait the night of March 1, 1942.

Jerry Ranger is the son of John W. Ranger. John survived the battle and the ship's sinking only to be captured by the Japanese and held as as Prisoner of War for 42 months. To date, Jerry is the only son of a survivor to dive on the ship where it rests at the bottom of Sunda Strait.

The USS Houston, was the last ship of the asiatic fleet to be sunk. Its crew were the first Prisoners of World War II to be taken by the Japanese. Many of them were transported to Burma where they were forced to build the Burma-Thai Railway, also known as the Death Railway. The most famous bridge of the railrod came to known as the Bridge over the River Kwai. Click here to see more pictures of Jerry's dives on the Houston! Click here to see the diary Jerry kept of his journey to dive!

WEB SITES - Clay Ramsey (our USS Houston friend) has designed a great website at He entered the information about the dive at Sunda Strait

The Memorial Dive on the wreck coincided with the services in Houston. A phone conversation with the Divers was taped with survivors in attendance that evening. More about this dive is noted in the 'logbook' entries by the divers at the Houston Logbook site (see link to left. Those who join the site as members (no cost) may enter their own information.) A video of this is available from the Next Generation.

Jerry Ranger USN RET
Son of the late John W. Ranger
Survivor off the Uss Houston CA-30
Uss Houston Dive Team Leader
850-293-1140 cell

Thursday, September 06, 2007

USS Houston Documentary to be aired!

Per PBS in Houston --- I don't know how big the "region" is. Y'all might want to check your local PBS stations!"The Cruiser Houston: Of Pride and Purpose" will air Tuesday, Sept. 25th at 9p.m.; Thurs., Sept. 27 at 10:30p, and Friday, Sept. 28 at 1p.m. It is a one hour program. This is for our broadcast region only. Val

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Honored 65 years late - The DeLand-Deltona Beacon

The DeLand-Deltona Beacon
GREAT ARTICLE!! It seems Mr. Rose, over the years was a very private person about his WWII experience. It is good he finally got this opportunity for recognition.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Daily Navy Photo

Lake Minnetonka Liberty: Daily Navy Photo
USS Houston gets mentioned in this Minnetonka blog.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Naval Warfare: USS Asheville (PG-21)

Naval Warfare: USS Asheville (PG-21) Some of the information on the USS Asheville, came from survivors of the USS Houston. This is an excellent article to read.

Friday, May 25, 2007

POW's Bombed by US Air Corps

Three veterans of WW2 talk about an incident that put them all in the same place one day. Two are former POW's who were in Japanese ships being bombed by the other veteran. The story of the POWS is recounted in more detail at A video about the epic story of the USS Houston is available from .

Saturday, March 17, 2007

2007 Scholarship Winner Announced

2007 Scholarship Winner
Jenny Garrett
granddaughter of
Joe Garrett

The 2007 scholarship winner was announced at the recent reunion. She is Jenny Garrett of Raleigh, NC, and granddaughter of survivor Joe Garrett. She attends Southeastern College. Jenny read her winning essay entitled "What Does the Memory of the USS Houston (CA-30) Mean to Me?" and at the memorial service, assisted Dana Charles in leading the audience in singing "God Bless America". Congratulations, Jenny!

2007 USS Houston Reunion

The annual reunion of USS Houston survivors and Next Generations was held March 2-3 and was a great success. Seven (out of 31) survivors attended. From left to right in the photo are Bill Ingram, Clarence Schilperoort, Marvin Sizemore, David Flynn, Harry Kelley, Harold McManus, and Howard Brooks. This year commemorated the 65th year since the ship's sinking on March 1st, 1942. To see other reunion pictures, click this link.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ranger's Dive on USS Houston

Follow this link to Jerry's photos from the Houston Dive. There is also a Newspaper clipping that tells about the project.
OTHER NEWS - From UK This message arrived for the survivors and families:
My father was on the HMS Exeter in 1942, I attend the reunion each year. This year, there were some 7 Exeter Men, along with 2 members of the Encounter's crew, which was with my fathers ship when she was sunk on March the 1st. With all the relatives, friends etc some 50 or so people enjoyed another weekend in Devon. It continues!
Please pass on my best wishes to the survivors and relatives of those who served on a most gallant and beautiful American Heavy cruiser. Ian Mort Scunthorpe -- Lincolnshire England

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ship of Ghosts - Video is on Web

C-Span2 now has Jim Hornfischer's talk about his book, "SHIP OF GHOSTS", online. You can watch the hour long talk at the Houston Library on your computer ANY TIME. Don't forget, the film "THE LAST STAND of USS HOUSTON" is now on DVD. We found a blog that gives a lot of information and credit to the Asiatic Fleet. This BLOG is quite intent on providing some accurate history about ABDA!

USS Rentz in News

The Brunei News recently had an article about the USS Rentz. Here it is.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Book Reviews

This review appeared in a Canadian Newspaper. CLICK HERE. SHIP OF GHOSTS - By Hornfischer. For a new review from Indianapolis, CLICK HERE. Here is another BRIEF REVIEW.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Jerry Ranger's Dive in 2006

The story of Jerry's dive is in this PDF file... or ... this one on the main site. Be sure to check it out. There are lots of pictures in it. You can save the file to your computer and print it out too! In addition to viewing the photos in the pdf file ... you can also view them on FLICKR - HERE. You can make comments on the photos on the flickr account.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Survivor from The DeRuyter

This story comes from Johan Vanleer: The story of the now 88 year old stoker/oilman aboard the HR.MS.DE RUYTER. He was in the lifeboat with JACK PENHOLLOW and witnessed his miraculous rescue - later he was dumped on the KRAGAN beach together with DAN RAFALOVICH. IT is on the website for INDONESIA NOW.