The capital of North Carolina which honors the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, the first to attempt the establishment of an English settlement in North America.
The third Raleigh (CL-7) was laid down by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., 16 August 1920; launched 25 October 1922; sponsored by Miss Jennie Proctor; and commissioned in the Boston Navy Yard 6 February 1924, Capt. William C. Watts in command.
Raleigh shifted to the New York Navy Yard 26 February to complete fitting out and cleared that port 16 April for shakedown off the Virginia Capes. Final building yard alterations were completed at Quincy 24 June. After shifting to Provincetown, Mass., Raleigh put to sea from that harbor 30 July to join the Light Cruiser Division, Scouting Fleet, in northern European waters for duty in connection with the Army World Flight. After calling at ports in Norway, Denmark, and Scotland, she took up her reconnaissance station 31 July off Harafjord, Iceland. She shifted her station to the east coast of Greenland 10 August, and, upon completion of duty with the flight operations, she returned to the Boston Navy Yard 3 September 1924 for voyage repairs.
She stood out from Boston Harbor 16 October for maneuvers off the Virginia Capes, followed by operations and battle problems off Panama, California, and the Hawaiian Islands. Steaming from Honolulu 10 June 1925, she touched at San Diego with the Scouting Fleet and then returned to the Boston Navy Yard 13 July. Raleigh continued to operate out of Boston for the next 2 years, spending most of the winter months with the Scouting Force in Cuban and Panamanian waters.
Clearing Boston Harbor 1 February 1927, Raleigh embarked two detachments of Marines at Charleston, S.C. After participating in maneuvers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she transited the Panama Canal for Corinto, Nicaragua, arriving 5 February to land the Marines, who were needed to deal with the bandit-plagued countryside. The cruiser stood by for possible assistance until 23 March, whence she returned to Boston and resumed Atlantic coastal operations.
During the spring of 1928, Raleigh operated off the California coast and in Hawaiian waters, returning to Boston 26 June to prepare for European duty. Departing 17 August she steamed for Hampton Roads, Va., where, on 15 September, she relieved Detroit (CL-8) as flagship of Vice Adm. John H. Dayton, Commander, Naval Forces, Europe.
After touching at Boston, Raleigh made diplomatic calls to many principal European ports before returning to Hampton Roads, Va., 4 September 1929. The next day she hauled down the flag of Commander, Naval Forces, Europe.
Raleigh then rejoined Light Cruiser Division 3 of the Scouting Force, operating for the next few years out of Boston for battle practice, maneuvers, and port calls. Based at San Diego, Calif., from 15 August 1933, she trained off the California coast, with occasional runs to the Caribbean, as well as to Alaskan and Hawaiian waters. She departed San Diego 27 April 1936 in company with the U.S. Fleet, transited the Panama Canal, touched at Charleston, S.C., and entered the Norfolk Navy Yard 15 June for overhaul.
As Raleigh repaired in the Norfolk Navy Yard, Squadron 40-T, a special temporary squadron, was organized for duty in Spanish waters to evacuate American nationals from the Spanish Civil War areas. Rear Adm. Arthur P. Fairfield broke his flag in Raleigh at Norfolk 17 September 1936. The next day, the cruiser steamed independently for Gibraltar, arriving 27 September. Destroyers Kane (DD-235) and Hatfield (DD-231) and Coast Guard Cutter Cayuga (CG-54), in company with Raleigh, initially comprised the Squadron. Together, the ships saved hundreds of Americans and other nationals from the dangers of the war in Spain.
Omaha (CL-4) relieved Raleigh at Villefranche 28 April 1938, and 2 days later Raleigh headed for Hampton Roads for overhaul in the Norfolk Navy Yard, arriving 13 May.
Raleigh was next assigned to Flotilla One, Destroyer Squadron, U.S. Battle Force. Clearing Norfolk 16 August, she trained at Guantanamo Bay and then arrived at her new base of San Diego 5 September. In early 1939, she participated in the fleet problem in the Caribbean, returning to San Diego in May to resume coastal operations. Next assigned to the Hawaiian Detachment, Raleigh steamed for Pearl Harbor 5 October. As the flagship of Destroyer Flotilla One, she engaged in fleet maneuvers which took her from the central Pacific to the California coast.
Raleigh was moored at berth F-12, on the east side of the north channel at Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese made their infamous attack. In the first attack wave a torpedo passed ahead and a second hit Raleigh portside amidships. The cruiser took such a list to port that it appeared she might capsize. As she fought to survive, jettisoning topside weight, her gunners helped to destroy five enemy planes. Her valiant men won her from the enemy and the sea in a struggle which almost miraculously, left her with only a few wounded.
The next day, yard craft and the destroyer tender Whitney (AD-4) came alongside to render assistance, and Raleigh was towed into the Navy Yard for repairs 22 December. She departed Pearl Harbor 21 February 1942 as an escort of a five-ship convoy which arrived San Francisco 1 March. After overhaul at Mare Island, she cleared San Francisco Bay 23 July as a unit of Task Force 15 assigned to convoy escort duty between San Francisco, Hawaii, Samoa and the Fiji Islands.
Raleigh steamed from Pago Pago 3 November to search out and destroy four Japanese picket ships reportedly operating between the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Finding no trace of the enemy, she touched at Pearl Harbor 13-17 November, then steamed independently to Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Aleutians, arriving 24 November. The following months were spent searching for enemy ships carrying reinforcements in the Rat and Near Islands and escorting troop and supply ships between Dutch Harbor and Kulak Bay.
Raleigh put to sea 10 January 1943 with Task Group 8.6 to cover the occupation of Amchitka Island. From 12 January, she conducted patrols off Amchitka, with infrequent sweeps off Kiska with her task group. Detached from the group 10 February, she convoyed ships between Dutch Harbor and Kulak Bay, then entered Puget Sound Navy Yard 23 March for repairs.
Sailing 22 April, she arrived Adak the 28th and joined cruiser-destroyer Task Group 16.6, patrolling the approaches to the Near Islands and covering the southern approach to Kiska. Raleigh participated in the bombardment of Kiska 2 August, blasting targets in Gertrude Cove, and shelled enemy positions again on 12 August, before heading for San Francisco and overhaul.
Raleigh stood out of San Francisco Bay 15 September and resumed support of operations in the Aleutians, sweeping the ocean from Kiska to west of Attu. As part of Task Group 94.6, she steamed from Massacre Bay, Attu, 1 February 1944. to bombard enemy installations in Kurabu Zaki, Paramushiru, Northern Kuriles. In the early morning darkness of 4 February, she took her bombardment station off that enemy shore to blast an area where two dual-purpose batteries were located. She also took an airfield under fire, destroying a hanger and several barracks buildings. Her gunners also scored hits on a small merchant ship anchored inshore. After touching at Attu 5 February, Raleigh returned to Puget Sound Navy Yard 1 March for a 3-month overhaul.
Joining Task Force 94 at Massacre Bay 6 June, she suffered a casualty to her number two main engine while en route to Matsuwa Island. After repairs at Puget Sound, Raleigh departed Seattle, 22 June, touched at San Pedro, Calif., thence proceeded via the Panama Canal to Hampton Roads arriving at Norfolk, 13 June [sic]. Calling at Annapolis, Md., 1 July, she conducted two midshipman training cruises, in the Caribbean and along the east coast. Thence she steamed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard 29 September 1945, there decommissioned 2 November, and was struck from the Navy list 28 November. Her hulk was sold for scrap at Philadelphia 27 February 1946.
Raleigh received three battle stars for World War II service.
16 September 2005