Albert Harold Rooks

Albert Harold Rooks

Colton, Whitman County, Washington, USA
Death 1 Mar 1942 (aged 50)
At Sea
Cenotaph Guemes, Skagit County, Washington, USA
Plot Block 7, Plot 157
Memorial ID 189809025 · View Source
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World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Born in Colton, Washington, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in June 1914. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in June 1940 and in 1941 took command of the heavy cruiser "USS Houston" (CA-30), flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, leading convoys and escorts. He was posthumously awarded the CMOH for his bravery at the Battle of Sunda Strait on February 28 to March 1, 1942. His citation reads “For extraordinary heroism, outstanding courage, gallantry in action and distinguished service in the line of his profession, as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Houston, while in action with superior Japanese enemy aerial and surface forces. While proceeding to attack an enemy amphibious expedition, as a unit in a mixed force, Houston was heavily attacked by bombers; after evading 4 attacks, she was heavily hit in a fifth attack, lost 60 killed and had 1 turret wholly disabled. Capt. Rooks made his ship again seaworthy and sailed within 3 days to escort an important reinforcing convoy from Darwin to Koepang, Timor, Netherlands East Indies. While so engaged, another powerful air attack developed which by Houston's marked efficiency was fought off without much damage to the convoy. The commanding general of all forces in the area thereupon canceled the movement and Capt. Rooks escorted the convoy back to Darwin. Later, while in a considerable American-British-Dutch force engaged with an overwhelming force of Japanese surface ships, Houston with H.M.S. Exeter carried the brunt of the battle, and her fire alone heavily damaged 1 and possibly 2 heavy cruisers. Although heavily damaged in the actions, Capt. Rooks succeeded in disengaging his ship when the flag officer commanding broke off the action and got her safely away from the vicinity, whereas one-half of the cruisers were lost”. Captain Rooks was killed on the bridge of the “Houston”, and his remains went down when the ship sank. The “Fletcher”-class destroyer “USS Rooks” (DD-804) was named in his honor. His name is inscribed on the Tables of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines, and a cenotaph was placed for him in his family's plot in Eden Cemetery, Guemes, Skagit County, Washington.

Bio by: Don Morfe

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Don Morfe
  • Added: 17 May 2018
  • Find A Grave Memorial 189809025
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Albert Harold Rooks (29 Dec 1891–1 Mar 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 189809025, citing Edens Cemetery, Guemes, Skagit County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .