Volume VI, Number 11.
Mare Island Navy Yard
17 June, 1938.
From the City of Houston
UR FIRST piano was given to a
Houston marine by two girls of Houston, Texas on the ship's first visit
there. It seems that the girls had
become so enamored with this certain marine that they presented him
with the piano to prove their affections. He then gave the piano to the
crew who took great delight in playing all variations of chop sticks. But
shortly grave complications arose. The
story goes that the girls had been
placed in charge of a home while
the owner was away, and without
her consent had given away the piano.
Upon the owner's return she naturally began to look high and low for
this piano. Eventually the explanation
came out, and she sent a telegram
A year ago last Xmas
the citizens of Houston,
Texas presented the ship
with a very lovely piano.
(It is the 3rd piano that
the crew has had. The 2nd was bought
by the ship's service in China, but during a monsoon broke its moorings
and was smashed beyond repair). This
last piano is now reposing very peacefully in no. 1 messing compartment
and serves as a source of recreation
for all the virtuosos besides giving us
a very fine accompany instrument
for our orchestras.
(Continued on Page 2.)
History of the U.S.S. Houston
HE U.S.S. HOUSTON was built at Newport News, Va. The keel
was laid in 1928 and the ship was launched on 7 September,
1929. Miss Elizabeth Holcombe, of Houston, Texas, sponsored
the ship, giving her the name of that city in memory of General Houston.
After commissioning in the United States Navy Yard on 17 June,
1930, the U.S.S. Houston made a "shake down" cruise to Europe, visiting England, France, and Holland, returning to Houston, Texas, to
extend the welcome of the Navy to the Houston's natal city. Following
this memorable visit, final trials and overhaul were held, and the ship
sailed for the Asiatic Station on 14 January, 1931, via the Panama
Canal and Honolulu, T.H. On 22 February, 1931, the Houston joined the
Asiatic Fleet in Manila, P.I., and assumed her role as flagship, hoisting the flag of Admiral Charles B. McVay, Jr., U.S.Navy. On 20 September, 1931, she entered the Yangtze River to assist, if necessary,
in rescue work during one of the most devastating floods in the history
of that famous river. The Houston went up river about 600 miles to
the city of Hankow, returning to Shanghai on 5 October, 1931.
While undergoing routine overhaul in the Cavite Navy Yard, Philippine Islands, on the night of 31 January, 1932, rush orders were
received to proceed immediately to Shanghai, where hostilities had
broken out between China and Japan. American lives and interests were
endangered. Within a few hours the Houston was ready to sail, took
aboard 250 Marines to augment the 4th Regiment, ^Marine Expeditionary Forces, in Shanghai. On arrival, the Marine and bluejacket machine gun platoon were sent ashore for duty.