US Embassy holds commemorative event marking Battle of Sunda Strait

Jakarta The US Embassy, on March 1, hosted eminent guests from the Indonesian, Australian, and U.S. Navies, Armed Forces, and Governments for a day of remembrance of shared history to commemorate the Battle of Sunda Strait.

After the national anthems of Indonesia, Australia, and the United States were played, the U.S. Naval Attaché, the Australian Naval Attaché, a representative from the Indonesian Ministry of Defense, and the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Mission to Indonesia, gave their remarks.

The ceremony, organized on the grounds of the US Embassy, wrapped up with all representatives placing their respective wreaths in the water, a time-honored naval tradition, according to a written statement issued by the US Embassy in Jakarta and received here on Wednesday.

This yearly event marks the sinking of the HMAS Perth I and USS Houston (CA-30) on March 1, 1942.

A total of 696 men from the US and 353 Australian sailors and marines were lost in the waters of Banten Bay just after midnight on March 1, 1942 — scores of them battling till the very end.

The 368 Houston sailors that survived the sinking of their ship continued to resist while in captivity in Java, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, and Japan — until the end of World War II — when 291 Houston sailors returned home as heroes.

Through this commemoration, the U.S. Embassy recalls the ships and their valiant crew members and looks to the future as it works with Indonesian friends to convert the site of the USS Houston Banten Bay into a maritime conservation area.

Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy Heather Variava expressed gratitude to the Indonesian National Government and Banten Government officials for their commitment to safeguarding the sites as a marine conservation area.

“We are especially grateful for your continued support and cooperation in designating the site of the USS Houston, a Maritime Conservation Zone, and remain committed to working with you in pursuit of that goal,” Variava affirmed.

Source: Antara News