Houston, departing

Here, 80 years ago today, we see the Northampton-class heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), as viewed through the sight of an Australian 4-inch gun on the beach at Darwin, Australia, on 18 February 1942. Houston– which had been RADM Thomas C. Hart’s Asiatic Fleet’s flagship until he was scapegoated and relieved of operational responsibilities the week before– was then leaving Darwin for the Dutch East Indies and a rendevous with destiny.

As such, this is one of the last photos taken of the doomed ship, as she would be sent to the bottom at the Sunda Strait just 11 days later.

Photo courtesy of Otto Schwartz, 1983. Naval History and Heritage Command Catalog #: NH 94458.

Houston would earn the Presidential Unit Citation and two battle stars for her World War II service, in the hardest kind of way.

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