Title: USS Portland (CA-33) Battle Pennant from the Battle of Leyte Gulf
Accession #: NHHC 1960-14-BA
Size: 25" x 51"
Location: Headquarters Artifact Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command
One battle pennant from USS Portland (CA-33). The pennant is blue with white block lettering "Surigao Straits" sewn on to the flag on both sides. The hoist side of the pennant has ties at both ends.
USS Portland was the lead ship of the Portland-class of cruisers, the third class of “treaty cruisers” built following the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. She was laid down 17 Feb 1930. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Portland was in the midst of escort duty for the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) en route to Midway. Following the attack, she was assigned to patrol duty around Hawaii and Fiji. She saw action at the Battle of Coral Sea, Battle of Midway, and Guadalcanal. In October 1944, she was assigned to Cruiser Division 4 under Admiral Jesse Oldendorf in preparation for the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The USS Portland was part of the American line during the famous “Crossing the T” maneuver at Surigao Strait that resulted in the sinking of the Japanese battleships Fusō and Yamashiro. The Battle of Surigao Strait marks the last time this maneuver has been performed in battle. The efforts of the American ships prevented the Japanese fleet from entering Surigao Strait and secured the beachheads at Leyte. The battle is also notable for being the last battleship-to-battleship engagement in history.
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a decisive victory for the US against the Japanese. The USS Portland is noted as one of the few ships during World War II that fought the entire war, did not miss any major battles, and is one of the most decorated US warships of World War II.