Black Hawk County

Jay R. Laird




Jesup Navy Man Declared Dead

Mrs. Alice Laird has received a letter from the navy department informing her that her son, Jay R. Laird, of the USS Houston, must be presumed to have lost his life when his ship was sunk during an engagement with enemy ships in Soenda (sic, should be Sundra) Straits while en route from Batavia, Java, to Tjilatjop, Java. Laird was a ships’ cook third class and has been carried on the official records of the navy department in the status of missing since Mar. 1, 1942.

The Houston was afloat for approximately 30 minutes after damage was received.

The letter stated that in view of the time elapsed since Laird was declared missing, because of the strong possibility that he lost his life as a result of the shell or torpedo explosion or in the water after abandoning ship and because there have been no reports that he survived or was taken prisoner of war, it is the conclusion that he is deceased.

Source: Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Monday, January 21, 1946, Page 5

Jay R. Laird, Jr. was born Apr. 4, 1920 to Jay R. (Sr.) and Alice B. Rowe Laird. He became MIA Mar. 1, 1942/FOD Dec. 15, 1945 and is memorialized at the Walls of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery, Taguig City, Philippines.

Petty Officer Laird served in World War II with the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Houston (CA-30) which was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait. He was awarded the Purple Heart.