The New Orleans-class cruiser San Francisco (CA-38), the second U.S. Navy ship named for the city of San Francisco, was laid down on Sept. 9, 1931, at the Mare Island Navy Yard Vallejo, California. She was launched on March 9, 1933, sponsored by Barbara M. Bailly, and commissioned on Feb. 10, 1934, with Capt. Royal E. Ingersoll in command.
San Francisco and her crew would become one of the most decorated warships of World War II earning 17 Battle Stars, Presidential Unit Citation, four Medals of Honor, 21 Silver Stars and 32 Navy Crosses. Notable battles include: Battle of Cape Esperance; Naval Battle of Guadalcanal; Assault and Occupation of Guam; Marshall Islands Operations; and Okinawa Operations Assault and Occupation.
San Francisco’s participation in World War II spanned from beginning to end—from the attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, where she remained undamaged, to the facilitation of the surrender of Japanese naval forces in Korea in 1945.
On Feb. 10, 1946, San Francisco was decommissioned and was struck from the Navy list on March 1, 1959. The USS San Francisco Memorial that rests in Lands End Park within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area commemorates the Sailors killed and wounded in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. USS San Francisco took 45 direct hits and sustained heavy damage while sinking one Japanese ship and seriously damaging two others (including a battleship). Despite its poor condition, San Francisco made it back to port.