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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Chester

 

A city in Pennsylvania.

 

II

 

(CA-27: dp. 9,200; l. 600'3"; b. 66'1"; dr. 16'6"; s. 32 k.; cpl. 621; a. 9 8", 4 5", 6 21" tt.; cl. Northampton)

 

The second Chester (CA-27) was launched 3 July 1929 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; sponsored by Miss J. T. Blain; commissioned 24 June 1930, Captain A. P. Fairfield in command; and .reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

 

Chester cleared Newport, R.I., 13 August 1930 for an extensive European cruise. She visited Barcelona, Naples, Constantinople, Phaleron Bay, and Gibraltar before returning to Chester, Pa., for voyage repairs 13 October. She joined the Scouting Fleet as flagship for Commander, Light Cruiser Divisions and on 6 March 1931 embarked the Secretary of the Navy for the Canal Zone where he observed the annual Fleet problem from Texas (BB-35). Chester carried the Secretary back to Miami, Fla., arriving 22 March, then sailed to Narragansett Bay for exercises and duty escorting two visiting French cruisers.

 

Following an overhaul at New York Navy Yard during which she was equipped with two catapults amidships, Chester stood out of Hampton Roads 31 July 1932 with planes and ammunition for the west coast. She arrived at San Pedro, Calif., 14 August and joined in the regular activities of the Fleet. Departing San Pedro 9 April 1934 as flagship of Commander, Special Service Squadron, she arrived in New York 31 May for that day's Presidential Naval Review, returning to San Pedro 9 November. On 25 September 1935 Chester embarked the Secretary of War and his party for a voyage to the Philippines in connection with the inauguration of the President of the Philippines Commonwealth on 15 November. Returning to San Francisco 14 December 1935, she resumed operations with Cruiser Division 4.

 

Sailing from San Francisco 28 October 1936 Chester arrived at Charleston, S.C., 13 November and departed 5 days later to escort Indianapolis (CA-35) with President F. D. Roosevelt embarked for a good-will visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. Chester returned to San Pedro 24 December.

 

Chester remained on the west coast for fleet exercises and training cruises to Hawaiian and Alaskan waters from 1937 except for a cruise to the east coast for exercises and overhaul (23 September 1940-21 January 1941). Homeported at Pearl Harbor from 3 February, the cruiser exercised in Hawaiian waters, and made one voyage to the west coast with Commander, Scouting Force embarked (14 May-18 June 1941). From 10 October to 13 November she escorted two Army transports carrying reinforcements to Manila, P.I. Upon her return she joined Northampton (CA-26) and Enterprise (CV-6) and was at sea returning from Wake Island when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

 

Chester remained on patrol with TF 8 in Hawaiian waters. On 12 December her planes bombed a submarine, then guided Balch (DD-363) to a depth charge attack which continued until contact was lost. Chester supported the reinforcement landing on Samoa (18-24 January 1942), then joined TG 8.3 for the successful raid on Taroa (1 February). Retiring under heavy air attack she received a bomb hit in the well deck which killed eight and injured 38. She returned to Pearl Harbor 3 February for repairs.

 

Following an escort voyage to San Francisco, Chester joined TF 17 for the Guadalcanal-Tulagi raid (4 May); the attack on Misima Island, Louisiade Archipelago (7 May); and the Battle of the Coral Sea (8 May) during which her steady antiaircraft fire protected the carriers providing the air strikes which stopped the invasion force heading for Port Moresby, New Guinea. Five of Chester's crew were wounded in this encounter. On 10 May she received 478 survivors of Lexington (CV-2) from Hammann (DD-412), whom she transferred to Tonga Island 15 May.

 

After a west coast overhaul Chester arrived at Noumea 21 September 1942, to join TF 62 for the landings on Funafuti, Ellice Islands (2-4 October). She then proceeded south and while cruising in support of the operations in the Solomons, Chester was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side, amidships, on 20 October which killed 11 and wounded 12. She returned to Espiritu Santo under her own power for emergency repairs 23 October. Three days later SS President Coolidge struck a minefield and Chester sent fire and rescue parties to her aid as well as taking on the 440 survivors for transfer to Espiritu Santo. She steamed to Sydney, Australia, 29 October for further repairs and on Christmas Day departed for Norfolk and a complete overhaul.

 

Returning to San Francisco 13 September 1943, Chester operated on escort duty between that port and Pearl Harbor until 20 October. On 8 November she cleared Pearl Harbor for the invasion of the Marshalls. She covered the landings on Abenama Island and bombarded Taroa, Wotje, and Maloelap, then assumed antisubmarine and antiaircraft patrol off Majuro until 25 April 1944 when she sailed for San Francisco and brief overhaul (6-22 May). She joined TF 94 at Adak, Alaska, 27 May for the bombardments of Matsuwa and Paramushiru in the Kuriles on 13 and 26 June, then sailed to Pearl Harbor, arriving 13 August.

 

Chester sortied 29 August with TG 12.5 for the bombardment of Wake Island (3 September), then arrived at Eniwetok 6 September. She cruised off Saipan and participated in the bombardment of Marcus Island, 9 October, before joining TG 38.1 for the carrier strikes on Luzon and Samar in support of the Leyte operations, as well as searching for enemy forces after the Battle for Leyte Gulf (25-26 October). From 8 November 1944 to 21 February 1945 Chester operated from Ulithi and Saipan in bombardment of Iwo Jima and the Bonins, supporting the invasion landings of 19 February.

 

After another west coast overhaul, Chester returned to Ulithi 21 June 1945 and conducted patrols off Okinawa from 27 June, as well as covering minesweeping operations west of the island. In late July, Chester was assigned to the force supplying air cover for the Coast Striking Group (TG 95.2) off the Yangtze delta and protecting minesweeping. In August she made a voyage to the Aleutians, and on the last day of the month sailed to participate in the occupation landings at Ominato, Aomori, Hakodate, and Otaru, in September and October. She embarked homeward bound troops at Iwo Jima and sailed on 2 November for San Francisco, arriving 18 November. She made another voyage to Guam to bring home servicemen (24 November-17 December), then steamed on 14 January 1946 for Philadelphia, arriving 30 January. Chester was placed out of commission in reserve there 10 June 1946. She was sold on 11 August 1959.

 

Chester received 11 battle stars for World War II service.