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USS Chester (CL-27/CA-27)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Chester (CL-27/CA-27)

USS Chester (CL-27) was laid down on 6 March 1928 at Camden, N.J. by the New York Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 3 July 1929; sponsored by Miss. Jane T. Blain, niece of Mayor Samuel E. Turner of Chester, Pa.; and commissioned on 24 June 1930, Capt. Arthur P. Fairfield in command.

USS Chester (CL-27) steamed to New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y. (25 July–7 August 1930), where she received her first aircraft, Vought O2U-3 Corsairs, as well as ammunition and stores. On 13 August, she set out for Barcelona, Spain. USS Chester (CL-27) passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and arrived at Barcelona on 25 August. USS Chester (CL-27) arrived at Istanbul on 15 September and remained in port until 22 September 1930. After spending five days at Athens (22–27 September) she steamed for a short visit to Gibraltar, British Crown Colony (1–2 October) before she put out for the U.S. on 3 October 1930.

For the next several months, USS Chester (CL-27) was busily engaged in tactical and gunnery exercises in Narragansett Bay, Hampton Roads, and the Southern Drill Grounds (1 July – 30 October 1931). The cruiser stood out of San Pedro on 23 January 1933 for her first port call at Honolulu, T.H. After spending a few days in port at Honolulu (1–6 February), she steamed for San Francisco to participate in Fleet Problem XIV (17-27 February) before returning to San Pedro on 28 February. For the next several months, USS Chester (CL-27) operated out of San Pedro along the entire western seaboard leaving the area only once in late April for Fleet Problem XV (19 April – 12 May 1934) in Hawaiian waters. 

The next several years proved comparatively uneventful. USS Chester (CL-27) remained mostly in the waters off California making occasional return voyages to Hawaii to train or to participate in fleet problems. In 1938, she steamed to the Aleutian Islands, Territory of Alaska (T.A.) for the first time, making port calls at Valdez (7–9 July), and Yakutat Bay (10–12 July) before returning to San Pedro on 12 August. On 7 December 1941, USS Chester (CL-27) was steaming toward Pearl Harbor with Task Force (TF) 8, under the command of Vice Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr. after delivering Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters from Marine Fighting Squadron (VMF) 211 to Wake Island when she received the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After spending ten days in Hawaiian waters, USS Chester (CL-27) charted a course for American Samoa with TF 8 to support the reinforcement of American forces on the island (18–24 January 1942). 

On 26 November 1943, USS Chester (CL-27) was detached from TG 50.3 to rendezvous with the battleship Maryland (BB-46) and attack transport Harris (APA-2) south of Abemama Island, Gilbert Islands [Kiribati]. After completing her bombardment missions, USS Chester (CL-27) moved to Majuro, Marshall Islands (19–26 February 1944) before steaming for Kwajalein Atoll. For the next several months, USS Chester (CL-27) participated in the bombardments of Wake Island (3 September 1944), Marcus Island [Minami-Tori-Shima, Japan] (9 October) and operations against Iwo Jima (11–12 November 1944).

USS Chester (CL-27) was reassigned to take part in Operation Magic Carpet to bring American service men back home. While at Pearl Harbor, temporary berthing was installed in the cruiser to accommodate the homebound troops. USS Chester (CL-27) put to sea on 14 January 1946 for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard with orders assigning her to the Fourth Reserve Fleet. She arrived on 24 January and placed on inactive status in the reserve fleet on 30 January 1946. Although selected  in January 1947 for dismantling in the Fourth Naval District, she received a reprieve from the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO). In February 1951, the CNO ordered regular maintenance to resume on USS Chester (CL-27). She remained in the reserve fleet for eight more years. Stricken from the Naval Register on 1 March 1959, she was sold to Union Minerals & Alloys Corp., New York, N.Y. on 11 August 1959 and removed from naval custody on that date.

For a complete history of USS Chester (CL-27) please see its DANFS page.