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USS Houston Survivor Grouping - POW THAILAND / BURMA


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I think we may have spoken before --- anyway, Commander Epstein was my Great Uncle on my Dads side. He was repatriated to Calcutta.

I visited him often as a young boy at the Officers Club at NAS Alameda.

 

 

We have spoken before. Cdr. Epstein saw some extreme hardships as a POW and being a medical doctor with little or no resources at his disposal to try and save lives in the camps had to be tough.

 

The items I have from him are some of my most highy prized POW items in my collection.

 

Since I spoke to you last, I also acquired a large lot of items from the Senior Naval Aviator who was on the USS Houston and was also a POW.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/131639-wwii-grouping-pow-and-naval-aviator-uss-houston/?hl=%2Buss+%2Bhouston

 

 

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Good Lord, that group is a great piece of history. The Houston is one of the must gut-wrenching stories that is seldom told. If you've not read it yet, Ship of Ghosts will expose you to the harsh realty of what her crew endured from the battles to liberation from the POW camps...you won't be able to put the book down.

Chaplain Rentz was one of my earliest naval heroes as a young sailor...just calling her over the SATCOM conjured the visual of him offering his life-jacket (and ultimately, his life) for a young sailor.

I do not profess to be a militaria expert, but I conduct as much research as I am capable of and then write about my findings.
Check out my blogs, The Veteran's Collection (general militaria) and Chevrons and Diamonds (military baseball)

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  • 2 years later...
  • 3 years later...

back up

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Kurt,

Great grouping and thanks for bringing this one back up. Chaplain George Rentz, who abandoned ship with CDR Epstein, earned a Navy Cross during the incident. Rentz was the only Navy Chaplain honored with a Navy Cross in World War II. Chaplain Rentz had served in France in World War I with the US Marines' 11th Regiment.

He was truly a sailor's sailor and was loved by the men that he served.

Navy Cross

AWARDED FOR ACTIONS
DURING World War II

Service: Navy

Division: U.S.S. Houston (CA-30)

GENERAL ORDERS:


CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander (Chaplain) George Snavely Rentz (NSN: 0-17993), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as a Navy Chaplain, serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. HOUSTON (CA-30), following the sinking of his ship in the Asiatic Area on 28 February 1942. While clinging to an airplane pontoon with other survivors of the HOUSTON, Chaplain Rentz, noting that some of the injured men were without life jackets, and seeing that all life rafts and floating debris were overcrowded with survivors, stated that since he was an older man who had lived the major part of his life, he was willing to go in order to give his place on the pontoon and his life jacket to one of the wounded men. He made several attempts to leave the pontoon but each time was restrained by those with him. During the night, however, he succeeded in carrying out his intention. He disappeared into the sea, sacrificing his life so that another might have better chances of survival. His life jacket was found on one of the wounded men. His exceptional courage, his noble sacrifice, and his outstanding devotion to duty while serving aboard the HOUSTON and at the time of her sinking, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

The image of Chaplain Rentz is from Wikipedia and thee Navy Cross Citation is from the Military Times.

Fair winds and following seas Chaplain!

Allan

post-151-0-89927600-1586801110.jpg

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Aloha Kurt & Allan,

 

These HOUSTON sailors were a rare breed in the USN having endured tremendous privations and cruelty while 'guests of the Emperor' from 1942 to 1945. Among them was my neighbor "Sailor Jack" Feliz who certainly knew both Epstein and Rentz.

 

CDR "Sailor Jack" Feliz USN 1911-2013

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Kurt,

 

Great grouping and thanks for bringing this one back up. Chaplain George Rentz, who abandoned ship with CDR Epstein, earned a Navy Cross during the incident. Rentz was the only Navy Chaplain honored with a Navy Cross in World War II. Chaplain Rentz had served in France in World War I with the US Marines' 11th Regiment.

 

He was truly a sailor's sailor and was loved by the men that he served.

 

Navy Cross

 

AWARDED FOR ACTIONS

DURING World War II

 

Service: Navy

 

Division: U.S.S. Houston (CA-30)

 

GENERAL ORDERS:

 

 

CITATION:

 

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Commander (Chaplain) George Snavely Rentz (NSN: 0-17993), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as a Navy Chaplain, serving on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. HOUSTON (CA-30), following the sinking of his ship in the Asiatic Area on 28 February 1942. While clinging to an airplane pontoon with other survivors of the HOUSTON, Chaplain Rentz, noting that some of the injured men were without life jackets, and seeing that all life rafts and floating debris were overcrowded with survivors, stated that since he was an older man who had lived the major part of his life, he was willing to go in order to give his place on the pontoon and his life jacket to one of the wounded men. He made several attempts to leave the pontoon but each time was restrained by those with him. During the night, however, he succeeded in carrying out his intention. He disappeared into the sea, sacrificing his life so that another might have better chances of survival. His life jacket was found on one of the wounded men. His exceptional courage, his noble sacrifice, and his outstanding devotion to duty while serving aboard the HOUSTON and at the time of her sinking, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

 

The image of Chaplain Rentz is from Wikipedia and thee Navy Cross Citation is from the Military Times.

 

Fair winds and following seas Chaplain!

 

Allan

 

Thanks for adding this Allan.

 

 

I also have a group to the Medal Officer on the USS Houston. Its a

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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Aloha Kurt & Allan,

 

These HOUSTON sailors were a rare breed in the USN having endured tremendous privations and cruelty while 'guests of the Emperor' from 1942 to 1945. Among them was my neighbor "Sailor Jack" Feliz who certainly knew both Epstein and Rentz.

 

CDR "Sailor Jack" Feliz USN 1911-2013

 

Thanks for the link!

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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