USS Savannah, a 9475-ton Brooklyn class light cruiser, was built at Camden, New Jersey. Commissioned in March 1938, in September and October of that year she went to Europe to protect American interests during a time when war seemed possible. Following normal peacetime exercises over the next several months, in May 1939 Savannah steamed through the Panama Canal to join the U.S. Fleet in the Pacific. She operated along the west coast and in Hawaiian waters until May 1941, when she returned to the Atlantic to participate in Neutrality Patrols and "short of war" operations that lasted until the United States entered World War II in December 1941.
Savannah's entire wartime career was spent in the Atlantic theatre. She operated off the U.S. east coast and in the Caribbean during most of 1942 and took part in the invasion of French Morocco in November. Early in 1943 she went to the south Atlantic, where she assisted in capturing the crew of the German blockade runner Kota Tjandi after that ship was scuttled to avoid capture. In July and August 1943, Savannah provided gunfire and other support for the the Sicily invasion and in September undertook similar tasks during the landings at Salerno. While off Salerno on 11 September, she was hit by a German radio-controlled bomb that killed nearly 200 of her crew and left her badly damaged forward. She was able to leave the area under her own power and in December 1943 returned to the United States for permanent repairs.
This work, which included widening Savannah's hull and the complete replacement of her five-inch secondary battery, was completed in September 1944. Following operational training, in January and February 1945 she escorted President Franklin D. Roosevelt during much of his trip to and from the Yalta Conference. Training duty occupied most of of the rest of Savannah's active service, but late 1945 she made two trans-Atlantic voyages to bring home service personnel from Europe. Inactive for all of 1946, she was formally decommissioned in February 1947. Savannah was part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until March 1959, when she was stricken from the Navy list. She was sold for scrapping in January 1960.
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