USS Portland (CA-33)

USS Portland (CA-33) leads an Omaha-class cruiser and several destroyers in maneuvering in the Atlantic. Note sailors on the bridge and mainmast, range clock on mainmast for indicating the distance to target to other vessels in line, and Curtiss SOC-1 Seagulls in a very early deployment. Commissioned on February 23, 1933, Portland was the first vessel on the scene of the crash of dirigible USS Akron (ZRS-4) that killed 73 of 76 crewmen. In October 1935 Portland escorted USS Houston (CA-30) with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard to Panama. For the rest of the decade she was assigned to Cruiser Division 5 of the Pacific Fleet. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, she was enroute to Midway with USS Lexington (CV-2). She escorted aircraft carrier task forces at the Battles of Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942) and Midway (June 3-6). She operated around the Solomons, engaging the Japanese in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons (August) and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (November 12-15). She was hit by a torpedo that knocked off two of her screws and jammed her rudder to starboard; her number three turret was also stuck. Regardless, Portland damaged a Japanese battleship and sank a destroyer. Under repair for seven months, she bombarded Kiska in July 1943. She supported landings in the Gilberts and Marshalls through February 1944, then was sent to cover the landings at Hollandia in April. After covering the landings on Peleliu in September, she participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She supported operations in the Phillippines through March 1945, when she was detailed to the invasion of Okinawa. When the war ended, she took the surrender of the Truk garrison in the Carolines. While performing "Magic Carpet" duties returning American soldiers from Europe, she was severely damaged in a storm on December 18, 1945 that killed four men and injured fifty. She was declared unfit for sea and decommissioned on July 12, 1946. She was sold for scrapping in March 19
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Sunday, May 18, 2014
United States