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A Story of Sacrifice on This Memorial Day

We hope you're enjoying a great Memorial Day. WBFV is taking a break today from working on SUNDA, in the yard. She's a 35' sloop that was donated generously to us by Bob Rogers, a Navy veteran who owned her for 35 years. It's been a lot of fun working on her; and pretty special to share her with a brand new veteran service organization, Vets Supporting. Both groups are coming together to maintain her so she can keep serving veterans.

SUNDA was named after the Battle of the Sunda Strait, which occurred on Feb. 28 - Mar. 1 1942. It's difficult to imagine today that there could have been any other outcome other than total victory for the Allies. Yet immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were on the back foot and the Imperial Japanese Navy was at the height of its power and executing its strategy of invasion to create a buffer for their homeland. In late February 1942 a combined American, Dutch, and Australian force of warships deployed from Surabaya to find the Imperial Japanese Navy invasion fleet. This force consisted of two heavy cruisers, including USS HOUSTON, under the command of Captain Albert H. Rooks; three light cruisers; and nine destroyers. They intercepted the Japanese invasion fleet on the evening of Feb. 28, in the Sunda Strait. Outnumbered almost 4 to 1 in firepower, thus ensued a running gun battle that took most of the night, ending with HOUSTON and three other Allied ships sunk; the rest dispersed. 1,075 lives were lost, and 675 allied sailors taken prisoner. The invasion was slowed but not stopped, and only one Japanese ship was sunk. It was a devastating loss that added to the shock and demoralization of Pearl Harbor. Perhaps this battle cemented the public's and the military leadership's view that defeating the Japanese would be a long and bloody affair. It certainly became a symbol for remembrance - like the Alamo - of its time.

The connection between SUNDA's first owner, the CFO of Boeing, to the battle of the Sunda Strait is lost to time. What's important is that he wanted to honor the sacrifice made in that battle by naming his sailboat after it. SUNDA is therefore a memorial to the sacrifice of those who believed in our country. Sharing this story and keeping SUNDA in service - as a living testament to such sacrifice, and a working wooden boat serving veterans - is both a privilege and an honor. Have a wonderful Memorial Day; take a moment during it to remember at least one veteran. Kind regards, Terry Moran Chairman Wooden Boats for Veterans

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