RUSSELL R. ROSS, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Russell Ross '30

Date of birth: April 5, 1906

Date of death: May 5, 1942

Age: 36

Lucky Bag

From the 1930 Lucky Bag:

Loss

Russell was captured following the sinking of USS Houston (CA 30) at the Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942. He was an assistant to the gunnery officer.

He died of dysentery on May 5, 1942 at a Japanese prisoner of war camp near Batavia (now Jakarta).

He is buried in Hawaii; there is no next of kin listed.

From "Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston":

The worst case [of sickness in the prison camp] belong to the senior surviving line officer [present in this camp] from the Houston, Lt. Russell R. Ross. They called him "Rosie." He had contracted a case of bacillary dysentery that defied the best work of the men at Bicycle Camp's hospital. [Lieutenant] Hamlin repeatedly asked the camp commander, a lieutenant named Suzuki, to allow him to go to Batavia to buy medicine, where there was known to be an ample supply. The Japanese refused. According to Hamlin, "Finally a British colonel interceded and told the Japs it would be plain murder if they did not permit the purchase of medicine for Lt. Ross and an Australian soldier who was also critically ill." The medicine was delivered, but it arrived too late. Ross died on May 5 [1942], the Australian a day or two later.

According to John Wisecup, Ross could not seem to summon the will to live in captivity. "He gave up a long time ago," Wisecup said. "This guy was an overaged lieutenant. He was in his thirties and was a very moody type of guy." Senior officers, who usually had the best access to information and were well suited to evaluate it, could be the most despondent prinsoners in the camp. …

Prisoner of War

From Hall of Valor:

Lieutenant Russell Roosevelt Ross (NSN: 0-63232), United States Navy, was captured by the Japanese after the sinking of his ship the U.S.S. HOUSTON (CA-30), on 28 February 1942, and was interned as a Prisoner of War until his death while in captivity.

General Orders: NARA Database: Records of World War II Prisoners of War, created, 1942 - 1947
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant


Class of 1930

Russell is one of 42 members of the Class of 1930 in Memorial Hall.