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USS Portland (CA-33)

USS Portland (CA-33)

USS Portland, first of a class of two 9800-ton heavy cruisers, was built at Quincy, Massachusetts. Commissioned in February 1933, she took part in the search for survivors of the crashed airship Akron in April of that year. During the rest of the 1930s, Portland operated with the U.S. Fleet in the Pacific and Caribbean areas, with occasional special assignments that took her elsewhere. In October 1935, she escorted USS Houston (CA-30), with President Roosevelt on board, on a voyage from San Diego, California, through the Panama Canal to Charleston, South Carolina. She first crossed the Equator during Fleet maneuvers in May 1936.


When the Pacific War began with Japan's 7 December 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Portland was at sea with the USS Lexington task force. Later in the month she accompanied that carrier on a mission to support the abortive Wake Island relief expedition. In March-June 1942, she escorted the carrier Yorktown, taking part in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. For most of the rest of 1942, Portland was involved in the Guadalcanal campaign. She was part of the USS Enterprise task force during the August invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons later in that month and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in the last part of October. On 13 November, she was part of a surface combat unit that fought a greatly superior Japanese force close to Guadalcanal. Portland was torpedoed in the stern in that action and had to be towed to Australia for temporary repairs.


Returned to active service in May 1943, Portland took part in the Aleutians campaign from then until September. In the last two months of 1943 and the first four months of 1944 she was part of the armada that helped capture bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and raided the Japanese elsewhere in the central Pacific and New Guinea. She received a west coast overhaul in mid-1944, but was back in the combat zone in time to participate in the Palaus landings in September and the Leyte invasion in October. During the latter operation she also participated in the night Battle of Surigao Strait. Portland remained in the Philippines into March 1945, then moved north to support the Okinawa campaign. She was flagship of Commander Marianas in August and September, and the surrender of Truk took place on her deck. Portland carried homeward-bound troops from Hawaii to the east coast in the Fall of 1945 and celebrated Navy Day (27 October) at Portland, Maine. She entered the Reserve Fleet at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in July 1946 and remained there, in "Mothballs", until 1959, when she was sold for scrapping.


This page features selected views of USS Portland (CA-33).