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USS Houston (CL-81)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Houston (CL-81)

USS Houston (CL-81) was launched by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va., 19 June 1943; sponsored by Mrs. C. B. Hamill. Originally named Vicksburg, her name had been changed 12 October 1942. The ship commissioned 20 December 1943, Captain W. W. Behrens commanding.

USS Houston (CL-81) departed Norfolk 1 February 1944 for her shakedown cruise in the Caribbean and after a period of training out of Boston sailed for the Pacific 16 April. USS Houston (CL-81) was to take part in the invasion of the Marianas, a spectacular amphibious operation and another important step in the drive across the Pacific Islands to Japan. Departing 5 June 1944, USS Houston (CL-81) screened carrier strike units which pounded the Marianas 12-13 June and the Bonins 15-16 June.

Assigned to the newly-designated Task Group 38.2 under Rear Admiral Bogen, USS Houston (CL-81) sailed 30 August for air attacks on the Palaus 6 September, after which the cruiser and a group of destroyers bombarded Peleliu and other islands preparatory to amphibious landings. Returning to Ulithi 1 October 1944, USS Houston (CL-81) and her task group sailed 5 days later for an important operation into the western Pacific. Warming up with strikes against Okinawa 10 October, the carrier force moved toward its real objective 12 October, Formosa. In a devastating 3 days of attacks, naval air forces did much to destroy Formosa as a supporting base for the Japanese in the island battles still to come.

USS Houston (CL-81) steamed out of New York harbor 11 October 1945, after extensive rebuilding. Following refresher training in the Caribbean she took part in training exercises out of Newport, R.I. She sailed 16 April 1946 for an extended goodwill tour of European ports, visiting cities in Scandinavia, Portugal, Italy, and Egypt. She returned 14 December 1946 and engaged in training and readiness operations until 17 May 1947, when she sailed with Cruiser Division 12 for a Mediterranean cruise. Returning to Philadelphia 16 August 1947, USS Houston (CL-81) decommissioned 15 December 1947, was placed in reserve, and finally stricken from the Navy List 1 March 1959 and scrapped.

For a complete history of USS Houston (CL-81) please see its DANFS page.