DAVID W. ROBERTS, CDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

David Roberts '21

Date of birth: June 13, 1899

Date of death: March 1, 1942

Age: 42

Lucky Bag

From the 1921 Lucky Bag:

Loss

David was lost when USS Houston (CA 30) was sunk on on March 1, 1942 during the Battle of Sunda Strait.

He was the ship's Executive Officer and the Damage Control Officer — this was not a normal situation; suspect it was only done because the executive officer had been wounded (possibly in the Battle of Makassar Strait, when Houston suffered a shell hit to one of her turrets.)

Unsure of when he reported aboard, but he was present at a reception for the ship in Guam in November 1940.

His wife, Margaret, was listed as next of kin.

David is listed so late on the Class of 1921 panel because he was held in a missing status until December 15, 1945.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander David Wells Roberts (NSN: 0-57164), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. HOUSTON (CA-30), in combat with the Japanese in the Battle of Sunda Strait, from 28 February to 1 March 1942. When his Captain was mortally wounded and his ship damaged beyond repair, Commander Roberts assumed command and resolutely continued to hurl the full force of his batteries against the enemy until the dangerous listing of his vessel, the result of a furious Japanese cross-fire from vastly superior forces at point blank range, forced him to give the order to abandon ship. Capably and unselfishly concentrating every effort on saving all survivors, he remained on board until the ship went down. His indomitable fighting spirit, personal courage and gallant devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Commander Roberts and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

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


Class of 1921

David is one of 32 members of the Class of 1921 in Memorial Hall.