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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND
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Des Moines

 

The capital city of Iowa.

 

II

 

(CA-134: dp. 17,000; l. 716'6"; b. 76'6"; dr. 22'; s. 33 k.; cpl. 1,799; cl. Des Moines)

 

The second Des Moines (CA-134) was launched 27 September 1946 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River, Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. E. T. Meredith, Jr.; and commissioned 16 November 1948, Captain A. D. Chandler in command.

 

In a varied operating schedule designed to maintain the readiness of the Navy to meet the constant demands of defense and foreign policy, Des Moines cruised from her home port at Newport, and after 1950, from Norfolk, on exercises of every type in the Caribbean, along the east coast, in the Mediterranean, and in North Atlantic waters. Annually between 1949 and 1957 she deployed to the Mediterranean, during the first 7 years serving as flagship for the 6th Task Fleet (known as the 6th Fleet from 1950). In 1952, and each year from 1954 to 1957, she carried midshipmen for summer training cruises, crossing to Northern European ports on the first four cruises. She also sailed to Northern Europe on NATO exercises in 1952, 1953, and 1955. On 18 February 1958, she cleared Norfolk for the Mediterranean once more, this time to remain as flagship for the 6th Fleet until July 1961 when was placed out of commission in reserve.

 

Through her Mediterranean services Des Moines contributed significantly to the success of the 6th Fleet in representing American power and interests in the countries of Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Near East. She made this contribution through such activities as her participation in NATO Mediterranean exercises; her call to seldom-visited Rijeka, Yugoslavia, in December 1950 and Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, in May 1960, and to many other ports as a regular feature of her schedule; her cruising in the eastern Atlantic during the wake of the Suez Crisis of 1956; and service on patrol and as control center for American forces in the Lebanon crisis of 1958.