Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

Albert Harold Rooks

  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Houston
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 4 - 27, 1942
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: from Darwin to Koepang, Timor, Netherlands East Indies

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 during the period from 4 to 27 February 1942, 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 four attacks, she was heavily hit in a fifth attack, lost 60 killed and had one turret wholly disabled. Capt. Rooks made his ship again seaworthy and sailed within three 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 one and possibly two 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.

Medal of Honor Recipient Albert H. Rooks
Medal of Honor Recipient Albert H. Rooks
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Washington
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 24, 1943

    The White House (Oval Office), presented by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt to his Widow and Son

  • Born: December 29, 1891, Colton, Whitman County, WA, United States
  • Died: March 1, 1942, Netherlands East Indies
  • Buried: Buried at sea; also A.B.M.C. Manila Cemetery (Wall of the Missing), Manila, Philippine Islands
  • Location of Medal: Special Collections, University of Houston, Houston, TX

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