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USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2)

USS Canberra, a heavy cruiser (CA-70), was laid down on 3 September 1941 by Bethlehem Steel Corp., Quincy, Mass., as Pittsburgh; renamed Canberra on 16 October 1942; launched on 19 April 1943 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Lady Alice C. Dixon; and commissioned on 14 October 1943, Captain A.R. Early in command.

USS Canberra (CA-70) departed Boston on 14 January 1944 and sailed via San Diego, Calif., to embark passengers for Pearl Harbor, arriving 1 February. She rendezvoused with TF 58 on 14 February and took part in the capture of Eniwetok. After a raid against Marcus and Wake Islands in May 1944, USS Canberra (CA-70) sailed from Majuro 6 June to participate in the Marianas operation, including the far-flung Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the supporting air strikes and bombardment to neutralize bases in the Bonins.

On 13 October, only 90 miles off Formosa, close to the enemy and far from safe harbor, USS Canberra (CA-70) was struck below her armor belt at the engineering spaces by an aerial torpedo which blew a huge, jagged hole in her side and killed 23 of her crew instantly. Before damage control could isolate the compartments, some 4,500 tons of water rushed in to flood her after fireroom and both engine rooms, which brought the cruiser to a stop. USS Canberra (CA-70) and her group continued unmolested to Ulithi, arriving 27 October, 2 weeks from the day she was hit. The cruiser was towed to Manus for temporary repairs, thence departed for permanent repairs at Boston Navy Yard (16 February-17 October 1945). USS Canberra (CA-70) returned to the west coast late in 1945 and was placed out of commission in reserve at Bremerton, Wash., 7 March 1947.

Reclassified CAG-2, 4 January 1952, USS Canberra (CAG-2) was towed from Bremerton to New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J., where she was converted to a guided missile heavy cruiser. Her after 8" turret was replaced by terrier antiaircraft missile launchers and she was otherwise modernized. USS Canberra (CAG-2) was recommissioned 15 June 1956, part of the sweeping revolution that is increasing the United States' seapower for peace. In the spring of 1958, USS Canberra (CAG-2) was designated as ceremonial flagship for the selection of the unknown servicemen of World War II and Korea to be buried with honor at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Departing from the normal operating schedule, USS Canberra (CAG-2) sailed from Norfolk on 3 March 1960 on good-will cruise around the globe, flying the flag of Rear Admiral J. McN. Taylor, Commander of the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser Force and Cruiser Division 6. USS Canberra (CAG-2) was reclassified back to CA-70 on 1 May 1968. She was decommissioned on 2 February 1970, and stricken on 31 July 1978.

For a complete history of USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2) please see its DANFS page.