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USS Oregon City CA-122 - History

USS Oregon City CA-122 - History



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USS Oregon City CA-122

Oregon City
(CA-122: dp. 17,070; 1. 673'5"; b. 70'10"; dr. 26'4", s. 32.6 k.; cpl. 1,142; a. 9 8", 12 5", 48 40mm, 20 20mm; cl. Oregon City)

Oregon City was laid down 8 April 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., Iaunched 9 June 1945, sponsored by Mrs. Raymond P. Caufield, wife of the City Commissioner of Oregon City; and commissioned 16 February 1946, Capt. Burnett K. Culver in command.

Oregon City departed Boston 31 March 1946 for shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, then returned to Boston in mid-May.

Oregon City became flagship of the 4th Fleet 3 July and the following month began dockside training of reservists in Philadelphia. From 6 to 19 October she made a post-war Reserve Training Cruise, to Bermuda, then sailed to Boston and remained until the following March with a somewhatreduced complement. Reassigned to the 2nd Fleet in January 1947, Oregon City's crew had returned to full strength by the time she sailed for Guantanamo Bay 30 March. After three weeks of exercises she returned to Boston, not sailing again until 6 June. She embarked midshipmen at Annapolis on the 21st, then sailed for the Canal Zone and the Caribbean on an annual summer training cruise.

Oregon City debarked her.midshipmen at Norfolk in midAugust and sailed for Philadelphia and deactivation. She decommissioned 15 December 1947 and remains berthed in Philadelphia in 1970.


USS Oregon City CA-122 (1946-1973)

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USS Oregon City CA-122 - History

USS Oregon City , first of a class of 13,700-ton heavy cruisers, was built at Quincy, Massachusetts. Commissioned in mid-February 1946, she shook down in the Caribbean area, then was generally stationed at Philadelphia and Boston over the next year, going to sea in October for a two week Naval Reserve training cruise to Bermuda. Oregon City made another training trip in June-August 1947, this time taking Naval Academy midshipmen to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal Zone. Upon her return to the U.S., she went to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to prepare for decommissioning, which took place in December 1947. Laid up as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet for nearly twenty-three years, USS Oregon City was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in November 1970 and sold for scrapping in August 1973.

This page features all the views we have concerning USS Oregon City (CA-122).

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Underway approximately ten miles northeast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 17 June 1946.
Photographed from an aircraft based at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 85KB 740 x 610 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Laid up as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania, 1959.
The original photograph is dated 8 September 1959.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 84KB 740 x 610 pixels

Reserve Fleet Basin, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania

Photographed on 19 May 1955 with numerous cruisers, escort carriers, and auxiliaries in reserve.
The nearest ship is the never-completed Hawaii (CB-3), which lacks its previously-installed three 12" gun turrets.
Many of the other ships present are identified in Photo # 80-G-668655 (complete caption).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 138KB 635 x 675 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Reserve Fleet Basin, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania

Photographed on 19 May 1955 with numerous cruisers laid up in the center and right.
Many of the ships present are identified in Photo # 80-G-668656 (complete caption).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Online Image: 139KB 645 x 675 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

Men handling mooring lines during the first 14-day post-World War II cruise by Naval Reservists from the First, Third and Fourth Naval Districts and the Potomac River Naval Command. The cruise began at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 6 October. Liberty stops were made at New York City and Bermuda before the Reservists disembarked at Boston, Massachusetts, at the completion of the two-week voyage.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 87KB 740 x 610 pixels

Captain's inspection on the cruiser's after deck, 1946.
Note catapult training gear in the foreground, and ship's after triple 8"/55 gun turret.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 136KB 740 x 605 pixels

Ship's Captain inspects her crew, 1946.
Note the aircraft hangar hatch.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 131KB 740 x 605 pixels

Crewmen sunbathing on the cruiser's after deck, 1946.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 131KB 585 x 765 pixels

In addition to the images presented above, the National Archives appears to hold at other views of USS Oregon City (CA-122). The following list features some of these photographs:

The images listed below are NOT in the Naval Historical Center's collections.
DO NOT try to obtain them using the procedures described in our page "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions".

Reproductions of these images should be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system for pictures not held by the Naval Historical Center.


USS Oregon City (CA-122)

USS Oregon City (CA-122), the lead ship of the Oregon City class of heavy cruisers, was laid down 8 April 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Company, Quincy, Massachusetts launched 9 June 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Raymond P. Canfield, wife of the City Commissioner of Oregon City, Oregon. Newspapers showed pictures of celebrated radio, film and television personality Bing Crosby adding a bit of glamor to the launching. The Oregon City was commissioned 16 February 1946 with Captain Burtnett Kent Culver in command.

Oregon City is named for the city in the state of Oregon. Oregon City departed Boston 31 March 1946 for shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, then returned to Boston in mid-May.

Oregon City became flagship of the United States Fourth Fleet on 3 July and the following month began dockside training of reservists in Philadelphia. From 6 October to 19 October she made a post-war Reserve Training Cruise, to Bermuda, then sailed to Boston and remained until the following March with a somewhat reduced complement. Reassigned to the 2nd Fleet in January 1947, Oregon City’s crew had returned to full strength by the time she sailed for Guantanamo Bay 30 March. After three weeks of exercises she returned to Boston, not sailing again until 6 June. She embarked midshipmen at Annapolis on the 21st, then sailed for the Canal Zone and the Caribbean on an annual summer training cruise.

Oregon City debarked her midshipmen at Norfolk in mid-August and sailed for Philadelphia and deactivation. She decommissioned on 15 December 1947. She was the only Oregon City-class ship to be decommissioned soon after completion, and was not selected for conversion to a missile ship. Her bell was sent back to Oregon where it is on display at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City, Oregon. She was stricken 1 November 1970, and sold 17 September 1973 to Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation, NYC, and scrapped in Kearny, New Jersey the following year. Her 5" gun houses could still be seen well into the 90s at Philadelphia Navy Yard. [ citation needed ]


File:U.S. Navy ships awaiting scrapping by the Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation, Kearny, New Jersey (USA), in June 1974 (555767).jpg

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Contents

The Oregon City-class cruisers were a modified version of the previous Baltimore-class design the main difference was a more compact pyramidal superstructure with single trunked funnel, intended to improve the arcs of fire of the anti-aircraft (AA) guns. The same type of modification also differentiated the Cleveland and Fargo classes of light cruisers. [1]

Ten ships were authorized for the class with three being completed and the fourth suspended during construction. The final six ships were cancelled, five after being laid down. [2] Construction on the incomplete fourth ship was resumed in 1948 and the ship served as a command ship Northampton (CLC-1) . All three completed cruisers were commissioned in 1946. Oregon City was decommissioned after only 22 months of service, one of the shortest active careers of any World War II-era cruiser. Albany was later converted into a guided missile ship, becoming the lead ship of the Albany class and served until 1980. A similar conversion was planned for Rochester but was cancelled.


USS Oregon City (CA-122)

USS "Oregon City" (CA-122), the lead ship of the "Oregon City" class of heavy cruiser s, was laid down 8 April 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Company, Quincy, Massachusetts launched 9 June 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Raymond P. Canfield, wife of the City Commissioner of Oregon City, Oregon . Newspapers showed pictures of celebrated radio, film and television personality Bing Crosby adding a bit of glamor to the launching. The Oregon City was commissioned 16 February 1946 , Capt. Burnett K. Culver in command.

The commissioning program says: "The U.S.S. Oregon City is named for that historical city in the state of Oregon that bears the same name as the state. Oregon City is the oldest seat of government is the entire West and the original and first capital of Oregon. It is located on the banks of the Willamette River and was founded over a century ago by the noted Dr. John McLoughlin ."

Continuing: "The U.S.S. Oregon City, like the city it is named for believes in being a first. As the first heavy cruiser of her type and class she carries on the heritage of that great city that is noted for its historical firsts."

"Oregon City" departed Boston 31 March 1946 for shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, then returned to Boston in mid-May.

"Oregon City" became flagship of the 4th Fleet 3 July and the following month began dockside training of reservists in Philadelphia . From 6 October to 19 October she made a post-war Reserve Training Cruise, to Bermuda , then sailed to Boston and remained until the following March with a somewhat reduced complement. Reassigned to the 2nd Fleet in January 1947, "Oregon City’s" crew had returned to full strength by the time she sailed for Guantanamo Bay 30 March . After three weeks of exercises she returned to Boston, not sailing again until 6 June . She embarked midshipmen at Annapolis on the 21st, then sailed for the Canal Zone and the Caribbean on an annual summer training cruise.

"Oregon City" debarked her midshipmen at Norfolk in mid-August and sailed for Philadelphia and deactivation. She decommissioned on 15 December 1947 . Her bell was sent back to Oregon were it is on display at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City, Oregon.

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USS Oregon City CA-122 - History

USS Oregon City (CA-122), the lead ship of theOregon City class of heavy cruisers, was laid down 8 April 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Company,Quincy, Massachusetts launched 9 June 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Raymond P. Canfield, wife of the City Commissioner of Oregon City, Oregon. Newspapers showed pictures of celebrated radio, film and television personality Bing Crosby adding a bit of glamor to the launching. The Oregon Citywas commissioned 16 February 1946, Capt. Burtnett Kent Culver in command.

The commissioning program says: "The U.S.S.Oregon City is named for that historical city in the state of Oregon that bears the same name as the state. Oregon City is the oldest seat of government in the entire West and first capital of Oregon. It is located on the banks of theWillamette River and was founded over a century ago by the noted Dr. John McLoughlin."

Continuing: "The U.S.S. Oregon City, like the city it is named for believes in being a first. As the first heavy cruiser of her type and class she carries on the heritage of that great city that is noted for its historical firsts."

Oregon City departed Boston 31 March 1946 for shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, then returned to Boston in mid-May.

Oregon City became flagship of the 4th Fleet 3 July and the following month began dockside training of reservists in Philadelphia. From 6 October to 19 October she made a post-war Reserve Training Cruise, to Bermuda, then sailed to Boston and remained until the following March with a somewhat reduced complement. Reassigned to the 2nd Fleet in January 1947,Oregon City’s crew had returned to full strength by the time she sailed for Guantanamo Bay 30 March. After three weeks of exercises she returned to Boston, not sailing again until 6 June. She embarked midshipmen at Annapolis on the 21st, then sailed for the Canal Zone and theCaribbean on an annual summer training cruise.

Oregon City debarked her midshipmen at Norfolk in mid-August and sailed for Philadelphia and deactivation. She decommissioned on 15 December 1947. She was the only Oregon City Class ship to be decommissioned soon after completion, and was not selected for conversion to a missile ship. Her bell was sent back to Oregon were it is on display at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City, Oregon. She was stricken 01 November 1970, and sold 17 September 1973 to Union Minerals & Alloys Co., NYC, and scrapped in Kearny, NJ the following year. Her 5" gunhouses could still be seen well into the 90's at Philadelphia Navy Yard.


World War II & Scrapping:

In April 1917, with the United States' entry into World War I, Oregon was re-commissioned and commenced operations on the West Coast. In 1918, the battleship escorted transports west during the Siberian Intervention. Returning to Bremerton, WA, Oregon was decommissioned on June 12, 1919. In 1921, a movement began to preserve the ship as museum in Oregon. This came to fruition in June 1925 after Oregon was disarmed as part of the Washington Naval Treaty.

Moored at Portland, the battleship served as a museum and memorial. Redesignated IX-22 on February 17, 1941, Oregon's fate changed the following year. With American forces fighting World War II it was determined that the ship's scrap value was vital to the war effort. As a result, Oregon was sold on December 7, 1942 and taken to Kalima, WA for scrapping.

Work progressed on dismantling Oregon during 1943. As the scrapping moved forward, the US Navy requested that it be halted after it reached the main deck and the interior cleared out. Reclaiming the empty hull, the US Navy intended to use it as a storage hulk or breakwater during the 1944 reconquest of Guam. In July 1944, Oregon's hull was loaded with ammunition and explosives and towed to the Marianas. It remained at Guam until November 14-15, 1948, when it broke loose during a typhoon. Located following the storm, it was returned to Guam where it stayed until being sold for scrap in March 1956.


Armaments & Innovations - Last of the 8-inch Cruiser Guns

Heavy cruisers were a part of the U.S. Navy for about 50 years, until the late 1970s. Almost all of them were armed with nine 8-inch/55-caliber guns of several different types whose projectiles were fired using bagged powder charges. With the outbreak of World War II in Europe, four cruisers of the Baltimore (CA-68) class were immediately ordered. A total of 24 ultimately would be ordered, with 14 entering service. Combat experience resulted in modifications, which were reflected in the Oregon City (CA-122) class, whose superstructure was more concentrated to widen the antiaircraft batteries’ arcs of fire. Three of the ten cruisers ordered were completed and commissioned.

Shortly after the Oregon Citys were ordered, a startlingly different 8-inch/55 gun became available, one that used semi-fixed ammunition and could repeat firing cycles without human assistance. This was the Mark 16, which required an expansion of the Oregon City design. Twelve ships were programmed, but with the war’s end, only the three hulls well underway were completed: the Des Moines (CA-134), Salem (CA-139), and Newport News (CA-148). These would be the last 8-inch-gun cruisers built by any navy.

Continuing a U.S. practice, the ships’ Mark 16s were mounted in three triple turrets. Beneath each turret, six ammunition hoists hung like tree roots deep into the ship to magazines, where projectiles and metal powder cartridges were arranged in carousels that could feed them directly into separate hoists. A hoist sensor would recognize the presence of a projectile or cartridge, which automatically would be passed upward. A projectile hoist delivered its cargo to a transfer tube on the left side of a gun, while the cartridge arrived in a similar tube on the right side. Once again, sensors detected the arrivals and caused the tubes to swing to the gun’s axis, in precise alignment with each other and the gun’s bore.

At this point, a segmented rammer below the rear end of the gun flicked up and forward to push the now-combined round into the gun. A lip on the powder cartridge’s base released the vertical breechblock, which swiftly rose into position. When the gun was fired, its recoil caused the breechblock to drop, and the powder cartridge was sent out of the turret. And unlike many of the older bag guns, the Mark 16 could perform this evolution at any elevation up to its maximum of 41 degrees. By holding down the trigger, this cycle could be repeated ten times a minute—reportedly three times the rate of previous 8-inch guns—to send 335-pound superheavy projectiles out more than 30,000 yards. Moreover, the new guns had upgraded fire-control computers to give them stunning accuracy.

The three Des Moines sisters were commissioned between late 1948 and the spring of 1949 and soon settled into a peacetime routine of NATO and national exercises, midshipman summer cruises, and short-term deployments. The Des Moines and Salem would appear in two Hollywood productions. The former can be seen at the beginning and end of the 1959 film John Paul Jones, and the latter starred as the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the 1956 movie The Battle of the River Plate.

The ships also would have chances to show off their big guns’ incredible accuracy. One of the cruisers had occasion to demonstrate her capabilities to British Royal Navy observers in the Mediterranean. Closing from over the horizon, she acquired the towed target and opened fire at 25,000 yards with six three-gun salvos (using one gun in each turret) in full automatic. The observers reported 17 hits.

On another occasion, the Des Moines was conducting a night shore-bombardment exercise using her newly developed bombardment computer, which permitted her to maneuver at will while firing. The first illuminating round ordered by the shore spotter, fired by one of the cruiser’s six 5-inch/38-caliber mounts, burst exactly where it was wanted. The initial round of 8-inch destructive fire hit the target. In those heydays of battle-efficiency competition, the Des Moines–class ships’ gunnery installations were festooned with Es some had hashmarks marking consecutive winning years, and a few even had gold Es, marking five consecutive successes.

Between 1956 and 1961, the Salem and Des Moines were homeported in southern France, successively serving as flagship of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. As each completed a three-year tour, in 1958 and 1961, she returned to the United States and was mothballed. As it turned out, their active service lives were at an end, and both were stricken in July 1991. The latter was scrapped in 2007. The Salem became a museum ship moored at her birthplace, the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, where she remains.

The Newport News served mainly as a cruiser-division flagship during these years. But as the Des Moines was decommissioning, the Newport News was given expanded berthing and communications spaces prior to her assignment as flagship for the international staff of the dual-hatted Commander, U.S. Second Fleet/Commander, NATO Strike Fleet Atlantic. During the early and mid-1960s, she participated in NATO exercises, was flagship of deployed forces during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was active in routine operations in the western Atlantic and in the Caribbean.

Just as flagship duties in the Mediterranean had been taken over by one of the hybrid guided-missile cruisers, in late 1967 the Newport News was relieved of her flagship assignment by another of that type and sent on a six-month deployment to Vietnamese waters in response to repeated Marine requests for “big gun” naval gunfire support. She fired her main battery “in anger” for the first time on 9 October 1967, and in the following two months conducted repeated strikes against enemy targets in South Vietnam as well as against North Vietnamese coastal defense sites. Enemy responses were all misses.

The big cruiser made additional war cruises in 1968–69 and 1972–73. During the latter, a faulty base fuse exploded as the center gun of Number 2 turret was fired, destroying the weapon. As the shooting war stopped at about that time, the gun was not replaced. Training cruises and port calls occupied the ship until she was decommissioned in June 1975. She was stricken in 1978 and sold for scrap in February 1993.

Even as the heavy cruiser era was ending, the Navy recognized the Marine Corps’ continuing requirement for support ashore and sought to find a way to provide it other than with costly guided missiles. One proposal was to adapt the 8-inch/55-caliber rapid-fire gun to a smaller installation, as in a destroyer. The result was the development of the Mark 71 major caliber lightweight gun system—a single 8-inch/55-caliber gun capable of replacing the 5-inch/54 mount then in wide use in destroyers.

The prototype was installed in the Hull (DD-945) and given at-sea technical and operational evaluations in 1975–76. The gun could fire 10–12 rounds per minute from a 75-round carousel operated by only one man. But the Operational Test and Evaluation Force found that the system had accuracy problems and was no more effective than the 5-inch/54 it might replace. The project was terminated in 1978.