USS Columbia (CL-56)
The Cleveland-class light cruiser, USS Columbia (CL-56), was commissioned on July 28, 1942, at New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey. Ordered to the Pacific, she arrived to participate in the final stages of Guadalcanal Campaign, seeing action at the Battle of Rennell Island in January 1943. Later that year, she supported landings at Bougainville and took part in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay. Following repairs at San Francisco, California, Columbia returned to the Pacific, covering the landings at Peleliu and taking part in the Battle of Surigao Strait on the night of October 24-25 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Whilst covering the landings during the Lingayen Gulf invasion on January 6, 1945, she was struck by a kamikaze, and was further hit by a second kamikaze three days later while laying close to shore due to the prior damage. Under repairs until June 1945, Columbia returned to the Pacfic, participating in the Allied invasion of Borneo and serving in the East China Sea when Japan capitulated in mid-August. Following the war, she supported occupation efforts and transported war veterans back to the United States. Decommissioned on November 30, 1946, Columbia was part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until 1959 when she was sold for scrapping.
A model of the Cleveland-class light cruiser was on display at the In Harm's Way (Pacific Section) at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Bldg. 76, until 2022.
Image: NH 98064: USS Columbia (CL-56), steaming with Task Force 77.4 in Surigao Strait, Philippine Islands, January 3, 1945. NHHC Photograph Collection.