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Rooks, Harold R. Sr. | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Rooks, Harold R. Sr.

Historical Note: Albert Harold Rooks was born in Colton, Washington, on December 29, 1891. Rooks graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1914. During his twenty-two years in the Navy, Rooks served on several ships and submarines.  Rooks didn’t get an opportunity to command a Navy ship until February 1936. He commanded the newly commissioned destroyer USS Phelps (DD-360) and remained as her Commanding Officer until 1938. Albert H. Rooks’ last command was the heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30), flagship of the Asiatic Fleet in 1941. Captain Rooks and the crew of the USS Houston fought a gallant battle in the Battle of Sunda Strait, on March 1, 1942. Many lives were lost that day including that of Rooks. The survivors of the USS Houston were interned in Japanese POW camps for the remainder of the war. Captain Rooks received the Medal of Honor posthumously for "extraordinary heroism, outstanding courage, gallantry in action, and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the USS Houston during the period of 4 to February 27, 1942, while in action with superior Japanese enemy aerial and surface forces."
Note Author: Chinh Doan

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