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CA-38 San Francisco

USS San Francisco, a 9950-ton New Orleans class heavy cruiser, was built at Mare Island, California. She was commissioned in February 1934 and made a shakedown cruise from Hawaii to Canada to Panama before joining the U.S. Fleet in early 1935. For the next four years, she operated in the eastern Pacific and in early 1939 went to the Caribbean to participate in Fleet Problem XX. After the completion of that exercise, she led Cruiser Division Seven on a long voyage around South America, returning to the U.S. east coast via the Panama Canal. With the outbreak of the European war in September 1939, San Francisco made Neutrality Patrols in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean.

Returning to the Pacific in early 1940, San Francisco began operations out of Pearl Harbor, where she was undergoing overhaul on 7 December 1941, when Japan attacked the Pacific Fleet there. Though their ship was largely dismantled, the cruiser's crew actively participated in anti-aircraft gunfire against enemy aircraft. San Francisco was back at sea in mid-month, when she joined in the abortive expedition to relieve the American outpost on Wake Island. During the first months of 1942, she took part in the reinforcement of Allied positions in the southern Pacific, an attempted carrier raid on Rabaul and a successful raid on Japanese forces off northern New Guinea. In the August 1942 invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi, San Francisco operated with the U.S. aircraft carriers that supported the landings. She remained active in the Guadalcanal Campaign for three months, serving as task force flagship in the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11-12 October and in the first parts of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. During the latter action she was severely damaged by a crashing Japanese plane and by gunfire.

Following extensive repairs San Francisco escorted a convoy to the south Pacific, then went to the Aleutians, where she took part in the recovery of Attu and Kiska in mid-1943. In October, she participated in a raid on Japanese-held Wake Island and during the next two months was part of the forces that captured the Gilbert Islands and raided the Marshalls. She stayed busy in 1944, participating in the January-February Marshall Islands invasion, raids on Japanese central and south Pacific bases in February-April, and the vast Marianas campaign in June and July. Late in the year and early in 1945, following a west coast overhaul, she escorted the carrier task forces that raided throughout the western Pacific as U.S. amphibious operations seized the northern Philippines and Iwo Jima. From late March 1945 into June she participated in the Ryukyus campaign.

After the fighting ended in mid-August, San Francisco operated off China and Korea. She arrived back in the U.S. in December 1945 and was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in February 1946. Following more than a decade in the Reserve Fleet, USS San Francisco was sold for scrapping in September 1959.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:45:22 ZULU