At 99 years old, Palo Altan recalls a ship's sinking | July 4, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 4, 2014

At 99 years old, Palo Altan recalls a ship's sinking

Ned Gallagher is one of a handful of living USS Houston survivors

by Sue Dremann

Seventy-two years after a Japanese ship fired 8-inch shells into the USS Houston, Palo Alto resident Ned Gallagher still vividly recalls how he escaped the sinking ship near the island of Java during World War II.

This story contains 1148 words.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


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Posted by Independence-Day-Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

The Japanese were especially brutal to their POWs. The mortality rates for captured Allied troops were about 30%, as opposed to about 6% in German POW camps. Mr. Gallagher was very fortunate to survive his captivity.

It’s really hard to say much more than: “Thanks for being there when your country needed you.”

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Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

Wow, I had heard the general story of Ned's bravery and endurance, but this article gives a wonderful telling of the depth of his courage and perseverance.
Many thanks to Ned for his service to our country and to our community. We're all glad you made it.

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Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Companies like Mitsubishi used U.S. prisoners as Slave labor.
To this day I have relatives that won't buy a Japanese car because of that.
I don't think Mitsubishi has ever apologized for the atrocities.

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Posted by Respect the Veterans
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 7, 2014 at 11:12 am

My great-uncle was on the Death March to Bataan, and had lifelong kidney problems due to the malnutrition and lack of water during that ordeal ( those problems eventually killed him).

He was especially angry that almost all of the Japanese war criminals went unpunished, and many went to South America where they became extremely wealthy. Especially in light of the fact that the Israelis tracked down Nazi war criminals and executed them.

Incidentally, he also correctly predicted that if America were ever to be attacked, the perpetrators would either enter the US through the Canadian border, which was unsecured, or the Mexican border, where it would be easy to pass one's self off as a Mexican-American. This was in the 90's, and I was glad he did not live to see 9/11, even though his prediction was pretty accurate.

Americans have short memories and are too forgiving!

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Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm

maybe he can also remember when it was affordable to live in palo alto. these seniors should be held in good honor as they progress through the years. he is worthy of telling his stories and recounting the earlier years. bravo

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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I have been a friend of Mary G's since college and it is nothing short of wonderful to hear her speak of her father - and mother. I have been waiting for an article about Ned to be written b/c his story needed to be told. Thank you, Weekly, and thank you, Ned.

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