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USS Astoria (CA-34)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Astoria (CA-34)

USS Astoria (CL-34) was laid down on 1 September 1930 at Bremerton, Wash., by the Puget Sound Navy Yard; reclassified as a heavy cruiser, CA-34, on 1 July 1931; launched on 16 December 1933; sponsored by Miss Leila C. McKay, a decendant of one of the partners in the Astor expedition that founded Astoria, Oreg.; and commissioned on 28 April 1934, Capt. Edmund S. Root in command.

During the summer of 1934, USS Astoria (CL-34) conducted a lengthy shakedown cruise in the course of which she voyaged extensively in the Pacific. At the beginning of 1939, Fleet Problem XX concentrated the fleet in the West Indies, and, at its conclusion USS Astoria (CL-34) made a hasty departure from Culebra Island on 3 March 1939 and headed for Chesapeake Bay. USS Astoria (CL-34)  sailed for Shanghai, China, on 26 April 1939, and reached her destination on the morning of the 29th. After receiving Adm. Harry E. Yarnell, Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet, on board for a courtesy call that morning, USS Astoria (CL-34) put to sea for Hong Kong in the afternoon. 

When the Japanese attacked the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941, USS Astoria (CL-34) was some 700 miles west of Hawaii steaming toward Midway with TF 12. Late in the afternoon of 3 May 1942, Rear Adm.Fletcher received word of the Japanese occupation of Tulagi in the Solomons. USS Astoria (CL-34) screened  USSYorktown the following day as the carrier launched three raids on the enemy ships off Tulagi. The heavy cruiser remained in Pearl Harbor only until 30 May 1942. On that day, she returned to sea with the hastily repaired  USSYorktown to prepare to meet yet another major thrust by the Japanese fleet, this one aimed at Midway. USS Astoria (CL-34) remained as flagship for TF 17, as it operated north of Midway, until shortly after midday on 8 June 1942 when TF 11 arrived on the scene, and Rear Admiral Fletcher transferred his flag to Saratoga. 

On the night of 8-9 August 1942, a Japanese force of seven cruisers and a destroyer under Rear Admiral Mikawa Gunichi sneaked by Savo Island and attacked the American ships. Astoria took no hits in the first four Japanese salvoes, but the fifth ripped into her superstructure turning her into an inferno amidships. Suffering from the effects of at least 65 hits, USS Astoria (CL-34)  fought for her life. USS Astoria (CL-34) turned over on her port beam, rolled slowly, and settled by the stern, disappearing completely by 1215.

For a complete history of USS Astoria (CL-34) please see its DANFS page.