USS Astoria (CL-90)
The third USS "Astoria" (CL-90) was a "Cleveland"-class
light cruiserof the United States Navy.
The ship was laid down on
6 September 1941at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the William Cramp and SonsShipbuilding Co., launched on 6 March 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Robert Lucas(wife of the editor of the "Astorian-Budget"), and commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yardon 17 May 1944, Captain George Carroll Dyerin command.
"Astoria" conducted shakedown training in the vicinity of
Bermudabetween 6 Juneand 23 Julyand returned to Philadelphia on the latter day for post-shakedown overhaul. She departed Philadelphia on 19 September, bound for the Pacific. Steaming via the Panama Canal, "Astoria" arrived in San Diegoon 3 October. Later in the month, she moved to the Mare Island Navy Yardand got underway for Hawaiion the 25th. She arrived at Oahuon the 31st and remained at Pearl Harboruntil 16 November. On that day, she got underway for UlithiAtoll in the Western Carolines. She made a stop at Eniwetokin the Marshalls before entering the lagoon at Ulithi on 25 November. There, the warship reported for duty with Task Group (TG) 38.2of the Fast Carrier Task Force.
"Astoria" sortied with TF 38 on
11 December 1944for her first war cruise. Her mission was to serve in the antiaircraft screen of the carriers while their planes supported the landings on Mindoro. The flattops launched air strikes between 14 Decemberand 16 December. Weather began turning bad on the 17th and that night and the next day "Astoria" steamed with TF 38 through the infamous typhoonthat sank destroyers "Spence" (DD-512), "Hull" (DD-350), and "Monaghan" (DD-354). However, the cruiser weathered the storm fairly well. After two days of searches for the survivors of the three lost destroyers, TF 38 headed back to Ulithi for a Christmasrest.
She departed Ulithi again on the 30th, when TF 38 got underway to provide air support for the
Luzonlandings scheduled for 9 January 1945. The carriers' direct support for that operation lasted from 6 Januaryto 9 January. On the night of the 9th, Admiral Halsey led TF 38 - including "Astoria" - into the South China Seato begin raiding Japan's inner defenses. For the next two weeks, the carriers pounded military targets in Japanese-held southern China and French Indochinapausing periodically to harass Formosa. While "Astoria" steamed in the screen, the carrier air groups bombed shipping and shore installations in the vicinity of Camranh Bay, Hong Kong, Canton, Formosa, and HainanIsland, before the task force returned to Ulithi on 25 January.
Early in February, the cruiser again sorted with the carriers—now redesignated TF 58 with Admiral
Spruance's assumption of command—to launch the first strikes against the Japanese home islands since the Doolittle Raidof 1942. The force arrived off Honshūon 16 Februaryand began two days of air raids on the Tokyoarea. On the 18th, TF 58 headed south, took a passing punch at Chi Chi Jimain the Bonins, and arrived off Iwo Jimaby mid-afternoon the next day. While the carrier aircraft provided air support for the landings, "Astoria" moved in close to shore on the 21st to begin a 26-hour period of gunfire support for the troops ashore. She then steamed north to support the carriers in further strikes against Tokyobefore returning to Ulithi by 3 March.
14 March, she returned to sea with TF 58 to begin support of the impending campaign to capture Okinawain the Ryukyu Islands. During that operation, "Astoria" remained at sea with the fast carriers for 80 days while their planes struck at shipping, airfields, and other installations on and around Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Honshū as well as on Okinawa and the surrounding islands. The cruiser supplied antiaircraft defense for the carriers of her task group and claimed to have splashed 11 enemy planes and to have assisted in downing numerous others. She concluded her long cruise in support of the conquest of Okinawa when she arrived at Leyte in the Philippines on 1 June.
There, she remained for a month of repairs with some opportunity for her crewmen to enjoy rest and relaxation. On
1 July, she returned to sea for her final combat of the war. She screened the carriers once more as they launched their planes at the Japanese home islands. During that time, she and Cruiser Division 17 conducted two unsuccessful anti-shipping sweeps along the coast of Honshū. The first came on the night of 17 Julyand 18 Julywhile the second occurred on the night of 24 Julyand 25 July. The carriers continued strikes on Japan throughout July and during the first two weeks of August.
After the Japanese agreed to capitulate and hostilities ceased on
15 August, she continued to patrol off Honshū with TF 38. She remained on that assignment until 3 Septemberwhen she received orders to return to the United States. The warship arrived in San Pedro, California, on 15 Septemberand remained there until 24 November. On the latter day, she got underway for Hawaii. "Astoria" arrived in Pearl Harbor on the 30th and conducted type training for several days. She headed back to San Pedro on 10 Decemberand arrived there on the 15th.
For the next ten months, she ranged up and down the Pacific coast of North America from San Diego in the south to
Vancouver, British Columbia, in the north. On 15 October 1946, "Astoria" departed San Pedro on her way to the Central Pacific. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, she arrived at Guamin the Mariana Islandson 2 November. She operated in the Marianas, frequently visiting both Guam and Saipan, until mid-February 1948. On the 19th, she departed Guam. Sailing by way of Kwajaleinin the Marshalls and Pearl Harbor, the cruiser entered port at San Diego on 24 March. There, she resumed duty along the Pacific coast until October 1948.
1 October, the ship headed for the Far East. She made a three-day stop at Pearl Harbor before continuing on to Tsingtao, China, where she arrived on the 29th. For almost four months, she cruised Asian waters, visiting such ports as Inchonand Pusanin Korea, Sasebo and Yokosukain Japan, and Shanghaiand Tsingtao in China. On 16 February 1949, "Astoria" departed Yokosuka to return to the United States. After the customary stops at Pearl Harbor, the warship arrived in San Francisco on 8 March. On 1 July 1949, "Astoria" was placed out of commission and was berthed with the San Francisco Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet. There, she stayed until 20 May 1958when she was transferred to the San Diego Group. The light cruiser remained in reserve for another 11 years. On 1 November 1969, her name was struck from the Navy List. She was sold on 12 January 1971to the Nicolai Joffe Corporationof Beverly Hills, California, for scrapping.
"Astoria" (CL-90) earned five
battle stars during World War II.
* [http://www.mighty90.com Homepage of USS "Astoria" CL-90]
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-a/cl90.htm Navy photographs of "Astoria" (CL-90)]
* [http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/a13/astoria-iii.htm history.navy.mil: USS "Astoria"]
* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/04/04090.htm navsource.org: USS "Astoria"]
* [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/cruisers/cl90.txt hazegray.org: USS "Astoria"]
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