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Richmond IV (CL-9)

(CL-9: displacement 7,050; length 555-6-; beam 55-4-; draft 20-10-; speed 34.7 knots; complement 512; armament 12 6-, 4 3-, 2 3-pounders, 6 21- torpedo tubes; class Omaha)

The capital of the state of Virginia.


The third Richmond (CL-9) was laid down on 16 February 1920 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; launched 29 September 1921; sponsored by Miss Elizabeth S. Scott; and commissioned on 2 July 1923, Capt. David F. Boyd in command.

On completion of a 3-month shakedown cruise to Europe, Africa, and South America, Richmond underwent post-shakedown availability and in December departed Norfolk for New Orleans. There, at the end of 1923, she became flagship of the Scouting Force.

In early January 1924, she got underway to participate in Fleet Problem III which tested Caribbean defenses and transit facilities of the Panama Canal. On the 19th, she arrived off Vera Cruz, rescued survivors of Tacoma (C-18), wrecked on Blanquilla Reef; then proceeded to Tampico to stand by as political tension rose. On the 26th, she headed for Galveston, only to return to Mexico on 3 February to evacuate refugees from Puerto Mexico and transport them to Vera Cruz. On the 17th she headed east and joined in exercises off Puerto Rico.

In May, Richmond returned briefly to New Orleans, then steamed for the northeast coast and further exercises. Toward the end of July she departed Newport, R.I., for duty as a station ship along the route of Army planes making a round-the-world flight; then, from September through December, she underwent overhaul at the New York Navy Yard.

In January 1925, Richmond, flagship of Light Cruiser Divisions, U.S. Scouting Fleet, again participated in Caribbean exercises. In February, she transited the Panama Canal and during March trained off the California coast. In April, she steamed to Hawaii for joint Army-Navy maneuvers, after which she joined the Battle Fleet for a good will cruise to Australia and New Zealand.

Returning to Norfolk on 23 November, Richmond operated off the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean through 1926. On 1 February 1927, she again transited the Panama Canal; conducted exercises in Hawaiian waters; then continued on to China, arriving at Shanghai on 3 April. She remained on the China Station for a year, with only infrequent diversions to the Philippines for repairs and exercises. On 14 April 1928, she sailed eastward and less than 3 months later departed San Pedro, Calif., for Corinto, Nicaragua with a Navy Battalion embarked. On 25 July, she retransited the Panama Canal and for the next 6 years operated off the New England and mid-Atlantic coasts and in the Caribbean with occasional interruptions for fleet problems and exercises in the eastern Pacific.

From September 1934 to December 1937, Richmond operated off the west coast as a unit of the Scouting Fleet. After 21 December 1937, she served as flagship of the Submarine Force, U.S. Fleet; and on 10 May 1938 she headed back to the east coast. On 26 August, she returned to San Diego and resumed her previous duty with the Submarine Force. In the winter of 1939 and the fall of 1940, she returned to the Atlantic for fleet and submarine exercises, and, at the end of December 1940, hauled down the flag of the Submarine Force.

With the new year, 1941, Richmond shifted to Pearl Harbor; and, from January to June, served as flagship, Scouting Force. Into October, she remained in Hawaiian waters, operating with Cruiser Division 3, then she returned to California and in November began Neutrality Patrols off the west coasts of the Americas. On 7 December she was en route to Valpariso [sic; Valparaiso], Chile.

Recalled from her original mission, she took up patrol off Panama and in 1942 commenced escorting reinforcement convoys to the Galapagos and Society Islands. Later, returning to patrols from Panama to Chile, she put into San Francisco for overhaul in December and in January 1943 sailed for the Aleutians.

Richmond arrived at Unalaska on 28 January 1943. On 3 February, she became flagship of TG 16.6, a cruiser-destroyer task group assigned to defend the approaches to recently occupied Amchitka. On the 10th, she underwent her first enemy air raid and on the 18th she participated in the initial bombardment of Holtz Bay and Chichagof Harbor, Attu.

The force then resumed patrols to enforce the blockade of enemy installations on Attu and Kiska. In March, the Japanese decided to run the blockade and on the 22d dispatched a force of two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, four destroyers, and three transports from Paramushiro. TG 16.6, one light cruiser, one heavy cruiser, and four destroyers, intercepted the Japanese on the 26th approximately 180 miles west of Attu and 100 miles south of the Komandorski Islands.

The Japanese sent the transports and one destroyer on, then turned to meet Richmond-s force. At 0840, the Battle of the Komandorski Islands began.

Initially firing on Richmond, the Japanese soon concentrated on Salt Lake City (CA-25), the only American ship with the firing range to reach them. In the running, retiring action which ensued and lasted until shortly after noon, Salt Lake City went dead in the water, but continued firing. Richmond went to her aid as the American destroyers closed the Japanese for a torpedo attack. The enemy, however, low on fuel and ammunition did not press their advantage. Changing course, they headed west, pursued by the American destroyers. Salt Lake City regained power after 4 minutes and Richmond joined the destroyers, but the action was broken off as the Japanese outdistanced TG 16.6.

The transports sent ahead by the Japanese turned back for the Kuriles before reaching Attu. TG 16.6 had succeeded in its mission. In May, a week-long struggle resulted in the reoccupation of Attu by American forces.

In August, Kiska became the target; and Richmond joined in the preinvasion bombardment. The landings took place on the 15th and met no resistance. The Japanese had pulled out undetected, before the end of July.

On 24 August, Richmond departed the Aleutians; underwent overhaul at Mare Island; then returned to Kiska. Through the remainder of the year, she conducted patrols to the west of the outer Aleutians. On 4 February 1944, she began bombardment missions in the Kuriles which continued, alternated with antishipping sweeps, for the remainder of World War II.

With the end of hostilities, Richmond covered the occupation of northern Japan. On 14 September 1945, she departed Ominato for Pearl Harbor, whence she was routed on to Philadelphia for inactivation. Decommissioned on 21 December 1945, Richmond was struck from the Navy list on 21 January 1946 and was sold on 18 December 1946 to the Patapsco Scrap Co., Bethlehem, Pa.

Richmond (CL-9) earned two battle stars during World War II.

29 September 2005

Published: Mon Aug 31 09:18:42 EDT 2015