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USS Chicago (CA-29)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Chicago (CA-29)

USS Chicago (CL-29) was laid down on 10 September 1928 at Vallejo, Calif., by Mare Island Navy Yard; launched on 10 April 1930; sponsored by Miss. Elizabeth Britten, sister of Representative Frederick A. Britten of Illinois, Chairman of the House Committee on Naval Affairs; and commissioned on 9 March 1931, Capt. Manley H. Simons in command.

In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament (London Naval Treaty) of 27 October 1930, particularly the terms concerning her main battery of 8-inch guns, USS Chicago (CL-29) was reclassified to a heavy cruiser (CA-29) on 1 July 1931. USS Chicago (CL-29) carried out her shakedown cruise to Honolulu, T.H., Tahiti in the Society Islands, and American Samoa. USS Chicago (CL-29) worked with other ships of the Scouting Force during gunnery exercises in February 1932, preliminary to the problem off the California coast. USS Chicago (CL-29) served as the flagship of Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 5 with Louisville (CA-28) and Salt Lake City (CA-25) that year, and she normally embarked up to four Vought O2U-4s and O3U-1s of VS-10S, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas L. Sprague in command.

USS Chicago (CL-29) operated with the White fleet, which comprised 12 battleships, four carriers -- during her first fleet problem. Ranger (CV-4) joined Langley, Lexington, and Saratoga in the Main Body of the White fleet. USS Chicago (CL-29) had new range finders installed during an overhaul at Mare Island the following year. Following her participation in the Fleet Problem XX (April–May 1940), USS Chicago (CL-29) completed an overhaul on the west coast, and continued to operate out of San Pedro until 29 September 1940, when she sailed to Pearl Harbor.

During the next 14 months the heavy cruiser operated primarily out of Pearl Harbor, with additional cruises to the west coast, exercising with various task forces to develop tactics and cruising formations. 1445 on 30 January 1943, the Allies reported 12 Bettys of the 751st Kōkūtai, Lt. Cmdr. Nishioka Kazuo, flying south of New Georgia toward Rennell Island. A flight of F4F-4s of VF-10 on CAP from Enterprise and antiaircraft fire splashed as many as seven of the 11 attackers (one apparently aborted), but the survivors flew through the storm of bursting shells and bullets and Bettys dropped five torpedoes, four of which tore into USS Chicago (CL-29)’s starboard side, between frames 33 and 80. 

One of the weapons rent the ship near sick bay, tragically sealing the fate of the men trapped within, and the fifth torpedo passed astern. The crew gallantly but unsuccessfully fought the ship but could not control the flooding, and she listed to starboard and began to settle. “I’m sinking” USS Chicago (CL-29) forlornly signaled and her crew abandoned ship. USS Chicago (CL-29) rolled over slowly on her starboard side and sank stern-first at 1644 on 30 January 1943, about 30 miles east of Rennell Island near 11°26'S, 160°56'E. USS Chicago (CL-29) was stricken from the Navy Register on 22 February 1943.

For a complete history of USS Chicago (CL-29) please see its DANFS page.