The USS Houston Association will be holding its upcoming 43rd annual reunion in Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 11 through Sept. 14 at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport. This will be the first time the World War II Navy Ship Association has held its annual meeting in Kentucky.
Of those aboard the USS Houston (CL81) were several residents of Laurel, Clay and surrounding counties. The reunion is extended to those servicemen and their families/descendants that include Denver Benge, Thurman Glenn Calebs, John Robert Doane, Sheridan Goins, Clarence Hacker, Herbert Jethro Hinkle, Beachel Moore, Zee Proffitt, William Harrison Radford, Archie Williams, Robert Wittenback and possibly others. Beachel Moore was one of 55 men who perished as a result of a torpedo attack.
The USS Houston (CL81), being the third ship to bear the Houston name, was a Cleveland Class Light Cruiser which was commissioned in December 1943 following the sinking of the Heavy Cruiser USS Houston (CA30). The CL81 saw various actions in the Pacific during WWII, including the Mariana campaign, Palau Islands, Philippine Sea and Formosa (Taiwan). The ship was torpedoed twice in October 1944 but barely managed to stay afloat until crew repairs could be made in order for the crew to successfully return the ship back to New York Harbor in March 1945.
In December 1943, approximately 55 young men who were processed through Louisville were assigned to the ship. At least 12 or more of the 55 were residents of Laurel County, Clay County and the surrounding areas.
During the reunion, a memorial service will be held on Sept. 13 at the Jeffersontown Veterans Memorial Park. Any former crew and/or family members are welcome to attend. For further information, please call 606-260-2614 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available on Facebook on the page for USS Houston-CL81/CA30 or on their webpage at Usshouston-cl81.com.