The President of the United States
in the name of
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
*ROOKS, ALBERT HAROLD
Rank and Organization: Captain, U.S. Navy. Born:
29 December 1891, Colton, Wash. Appointed From: Washington.
For extraordinary heroism, outstanding courage, gallantry in action and distinguished
service in the line of his profession, as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Houston during
the period 4 to 27 February 1942, while in action with superior Japanese enemy aerial and
surface forces. While proceeding to attack an enemy amphibious expedition, as a unit in a
mixed force, Houston was heavily attacked by bombers; after evading 4 attacks, she was
heavily hit in a fifth attack, lost 60 killed and had 1 turret wholly disabled. Capt.
Rooks made his ship again seaworthy and sailed within 3 days to escort an important
reinforcing convoy from Darwin to Koepang, Timor, Netherlands East Indies. While so
engaged, another powerful air attack developed which by Houston's marked efficiency was
fought off without much damage to the convoy. The commanding general of all forces in the
area thereupon canceled the movement and Capt. Rooks escorted the convoy back to Darwin.
Later, while in a considerable American-British-Dutch force engaged with an overwhelming
force of Japanese surface ships, Houston with H.M.S. Exeter carried the brunt of the
battle, and her fire alone heavily damaged 1 and possibly 2 heavy cruisers. Although
heavily damaged in the actions, Capt. Rooks succeeded in disengaging his ship when the
flag officer commanding broke off the action and got her safely away from the vicinity,
whereas one-half of the cruisers were lost.