Ralph Clark Huston Jr.

By chance this year, February 27th lands on a Friday, thus it’s a perfect time for me to add a post to my “Famous Person Friday” page.  This person might not be famous in the sense of academy award winning actors or platinum selling recording artists, but still I chose to feature him on this page for being a World War II hero.

* Rank/Rate: Seaman, First Class
*  Service Number: 755 96 96
* Birth Date: September 27, 1925  
*   From: Parkersburg, West Virginia
  *  Decorations: Purple Heart
  *   Submarine: USS Cobia (SS-245)
  *   Loss Date: February 27, 1945
  *  Location: Near 6° 02’S x 114° 0’E
  *  Circumstances: Killed in surface gun action
  *  Remarks: USS Cobia is on display in Manitowoc, Wisconsin
  info from:  http://www.oneternalpatrol.com/huston-r-c.htm


On 2/27/1945, Ralph Clark Huston Jr. lost his life on board the USS COBIA while in a surface battle against he Japanese.  He was not yet even 20 years old.  In 6 war patrols he was the only fatality on this submarine.  So on this day, I commemorate his courageous service to the United States by volunteering for submarine duty.

It was Ralph’s job when called to battle stations to assist with the loading of the 20mm gun ammunition. According to Doc (Herbert L.) Starmer’s medical examination as written up in his book War Patrols of the USS Cobia SS-245, pages 80-84, (ISBN 978-1-105-37342-8), Ralph was shot in the left shoulder leaving the bone in his upper arm shattered.  He was also hit in the upper left rib cage and the bullet exited in the lower portion of his back on the right side.  Doc did what he could to control the loss of blood, which included removing Ralph’s arm.  He treated him for shock and was hopeful that he could save his life if they could just get him to a hospital.  Unfortunately his condition deteriorated over night and he passed away and was buried at sea the following morning.  

The logs pin point his burial at Near 6° 02’S x 114° 0’E.   With modern technology these days, it’s possible with Google Earth to see the location.  He was committed to the deep in the Java Sea.RCH1

Doc had to weigh Ralph down with several fire bricks from the crews mess and encased him in mattress covers, which he sewed closed.  He was wrapped in the American flag and taken up to the deck of the submarine, where they held a Protestant service, played a recording of taps, and ceremonial rifle fire.  The photo below can be found on the website, submarinemuseums.org as well as in Doc Starmer’s book.


Today this is the plaque that sits near the 20mm on the COBIA


Image of Ralph Clark Huston, Jr. on deck of the Cobia.

Image of Ralph Clark Huston, Jr. on deck of the Cobia.

3 thoughts on “Ralph Clark Huston Jr.

  1. Laura says:

    Thank you for this! Ralph is my great uncle. His brother Harry is my late grandfather. My family and I are proud of Ralph and brought to tears by the ultimate sacrifice he made for our great country. Ralph and my son share a birthday! We all wish we could’ve had the chance to know Ralph. My mom Linda, Ralph’s neice, has been doing some family research and found the info you so graciously shared. Thank you so much for honoring him on your page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura, thank you so much for leaving a comment. For two years now I’ve been employed at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. I work as a historical interpreter on the USS COBIA for the overnight program. Mostly, it’s boy scout groups that sleep overnight on the submarine. Some aren’t that much younger than Ralph was when he served so telling his story really impacts a lot of people. They realize that they are experiencing history, and seeing places where a true hero lived and worked until the day he died. Occasionally, I get really emotional talking about Ralph to the overnight guests.
      I still remember the first time I heard about your great uncle. It was in 2009 (before I was an employee- & just visited the museum frequently), and the crew that night told us that Ralph Clark Huston Jr., was a name that we should not ever forget. And I never did. Ever since that first time on board the COBIA, I felt he was something special.
      Thank you so much for leaving your comments. Although my blog site is a personal one and not affiliated with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, if we can assist each other by mutually sharing any information, I’d be more than happy to help.


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