Chicago file photo

USS Chicago

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNorthampton-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard
Launched10 Apr 1930
Commissioned9 Mar 1931
Sunk30 Jan 1943
Displacement9300 tons standard
Length600 feet
Beam66 feet
Draft17 feet
Speed32 knots
Crew621
Armament9x8in, 4x5in, 6x21in torpedo tubes

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

Cruiser USS Chicago had her shakedown cruise from Mare Island Navy Yard in the United States to Honolulu, Tahiti, and American Samoa. She arrived in New York, United States on 16 Aug 1931 to become the flagship of US Navy's Cruisers, Scouting Force; she remained in that role until 1940, serving on both of the United States' coasts.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Chicago was at sea with Task Force 12 nearby, and was dispatched to intercept the Japanese fleet; Task Force 12 returned to Pearl Harbor without finding the Japanese fleet on 12 Dec. In Mar and Apr 1942, she served off the eastern tip of New Guinea, covering the attacks on Lae and Salamaua. On 4 May, she escorted carrier Yorktown on the air raid against Tulagi. On 7 May, she sailed to intercept the Japanese invasion fleet aiming for Port Moresby, and the ensuing engagement with Japanese aircraft formed the small side-battle in the greater Battle of Coral Sea.

On the night of 31 May 1942, Japanese Navy Lieutenant Katsuhisa Ban and Petty Officer Mamoru Ashibe piloted the midget submarine M-24 around the defensive nets in the Sydney Harbor and fired two torpedoes at USS Chicago moored off the inner-city locality of Garden Island of Sydney, Australia; the torpedoes missed Chicago, but one of them struck Australian accommodation vessel Kuttabull, killing 19 Australians and 2 Britons.

Starting on 7 Aug, Chicago provided gunfire support for the initial landings on the island of Guadalcanal, which place her in the middle of the Battle of Savo Island on 9 Aug, where she sustained a torpedo hit and several shell hits. She engaged the Japanese bravely, but she (along with all other ships in the southern group) committed a grave mistake by not warning the northern group nearby of the presence of a Japanese attacking force, resulting in a disaster for the Allied fleet that night. She received repairs at Nouméa, Sydney, and San Francisco for much of the remainder of the year.

In Jan 1943, Chicago departed from San Francisco for the South Pacific. On 27 Jan, she sailed from Nouméa to escort a convoy to Guadalcanal. Some time in the afternoon of 29 Jan, American radar operators of Rear Admiral Robert Giffen's Task Force 18 detected unidentified aircraft, but they failed to report up the chain of command for proper action. The unidentified aircraft were 31 Japanese torpedo bombers. That evening, they found Giffen's two escort carriers, three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and eight destroyers 50 miles north of Rennell Island, and launched a torpedo attack. At 1938 and 1945, two torpedoes from two separate aircraft in the third wave of attack hit Chicago at port bow and then on starboard side. She was crippled by 2000. The damage control team controlled the fires, allowing her to be towed first by cruiser Louisville and then tug Navajo. At 1540 in the next afternoon, however, Japanese aircraft returned and delivered four lethal torpedoes. Captain Ralph Davis of USS Chicago evacuated his ship in about 20 minutes, and a few moments after the last of the 1,049 survivors left the ship, she sank stern first.

Sources:
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal
Wikipedia

Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago Interactive Map

USS Chicago Operational Timeline

9 Mar 1931 Cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) was commissioned into service with Captain Manley Hale Simons in command.

Photographs

Chicago being prepared for launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 Apr 1930Chicago at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, Apr 1931Chicago at Tutuila, American Samoa, during her shakedown cruise, 1931Chicago
See all 14 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Dr. Ian Puia says:
    22 Aug 2007 03:38:11 AM

    my interest is in doing partnership to do underwater photographing using mini submarines. Are you interested?
    I am from Lake Tegano in Est Rennell and have interest in Tourism.
  2. Beverly F McKee says:
    30 Oct 2008 08:22:20 AM

    I have an original oil painting of the USS Chicago. It is for sale at this time.
  3. Mrs. Marguerite Wright says:
    25 May 2009 12:20:13 PM

    Thank you for the pictures and information on USS Chicago and Battle of Rennell Island. My brother-in-law, Glenn Faulk, was one of the 1049 survivors. He will be 90 years old in October 2009 and lives in Memphis, TN. He has talked very little about his experiences and his family did not know details of this Battle. Thank you again for your efforts.
  4. Jackie says:
    19 Jun 2009 06:55:18 PM

    My father, Ralph F. Greene, served on the Chicago during WWII as a Radioman Second Class in the Pacific theater. (He also served on a sub chaser and maybe a tender.) He is eight five now, and in addition to senile dementia, he's had a closed head injury resulting in some permanent brain damage. His memories of his time in the Navy are gone, and my sister and I are hoping to find someone who knew him who could remember for him, for us.
  5. Gary L. Carr says:
    31 Mar 2010 07:10:09 PM

    My father, Lawrence(Larry) Harold Carr served on the USS Chicago during WWII until the end of the war. He come back to his home in Illinois and started his family. I am the oldest of his two sons. He loved the Navy and his country very much. He didnt really talk much about his time in the Navy and his tour of duty in the Pacific. However, he did write a book several years before he died at the age of 73. The family was so proud of him and how he served his country in the American way. We still have his Navy picture sitting on the mantel at our home. What a young man done so much for his country. After the war was over and he got to come home he always flew the American flag at his house and to this day I still fly the American flag everyday just like he tought me to be proud of our country. What a great country country we have, thanks to all of our veterns.
  6. John Rieken says:
    12 Apr 2010 03:39:40 PM

    TO Gary Carr:

    Gary - this is John Rieken a friend of your family that lived in Blue Mound. Email me at jrieken@windstream.net
  7. Maria Mercer says:
    15 Apr 2010 05:03:17 PM

    Hello from Brisbane, Australia. I've been given a US Navy sailor's cap with the name J.H. COULTER written inside the cap. I was told that this man was on the USS Chicago and was KIA in the Coral Sea Battle in 1942. Trying to find how to confirm that this man was KIA. Can anyone tell me how to do this. There is a lovely story to this. This man and my mother were in love and were to marry after WWII. I have a photo of him as well. If I can find the family of this man, I would like to return the cap to them. Any assistance would be very greatfully received. Maria
  8. Mark Ward says:
    14 Feb 2011 11:57:43 AM

    My father served on the USS Chicago and then redeployed on the USS Mobile. He was always very proud of the navy.
  9. Jessie Barnes says:
    26 Feb 2011 08:09:45 AM

    My grandfather served on the uss chicago as well. His name is Hosie Barnes. If anyone has any info. or knew him a responce would be appreciated.
  10. J Womack says:
    22 Apr 2011 06:00:58 PM

    My grandfather, Roberth Harry Womack served on the USS Chicago. Anyone with information about him please email me. He passed away the year I was born, so I never knew him.

    jenifer4701@gmail.com
  11. Kerry B. Koen says:
    8 May 2011 04:07:17 PM

    My Father, Larry C. Koen served on the Chicago at the Battle of Rennell Island and survived the sinking. He was later transfered to the U.S.S. Mobile and then to Washington before his discharge in August of 1944. He loved the Navy and this country very much. He passed away on August 2, 1994 in Boca Raton, Florida. (He would be just past 89 now). He was born in Herrin, Illinois and enlisted on August 31, 1942 at St. Louis (NRS), and joined the ship at San Francisco in October, 1942. Any information would be appreciated.

    Kerry B. Koen
  12. scott larsen says:
    1 Jan 2012 06:55:11 PM

    My Uncle James Richard Criswell served on the Chicago and survived the sinking. He pased away in 1985. The Chicago was his first ship he served on but not his last during WWII. The Chicago was his most loved.
  13. Mary Ann Poe says:
    30 Jan 2012 03:28:37 PM

    My Father, Vernon A Brown was a United States Marine serving on the Chicago . He survived the sinking but with critical injuries. Dad died in 1983, he was only 67. We are so proud of his service.
  14. Tony Fernandez Jr. says:
    28 May 2012 11:30:21 PM

    does anyone remember my father Tony Fernandez he was on the USS Chicago CA29
  15. Joshua Levin says:
    2 Jul 2012 01:28:44 PM

    I have been told that my grandfather was on the Chicago. Frank E Brockway. He was an electricians mate. If anyone has any information it would be great appriecated.
  16. Robert Proehl says:
    4 Dec 2012 10:42:50 AM

    My father, Henry O. Proehl served on the Chicago as quartermaster and survived the sinking. He recalls abandoning ship and swimming away as fast as he could to avoid the whirlpool created when a big ship sinks. He said the decks of the rescue ship were steel instead of wood like the Chicago and recalls how hot the deck was when he climbed up the cargo net and walked across it for the first time in bare feet. He was reassigned to a supply ship out of Sydney for a year hauling supplies to Midway and wounded soldiers back to Australia for medical treatment. I still have his navy uniform and war medals and can't believe he was ever skinny enough to fit into it.
  17. Millie Hammonds Stinnett says:
    14 Dec 2012 11:40:12 AM

    My Uncle Wilford Walton Hammonds served on the USS Chicago... in US Navy 10 years also served on the USS Montpelier-USS Washington-USS Black Hawk. Uncle Wilford died in Oct 2012 at age 90-he never would talk about his military service. He was not at Pearl Harbour during the attack but did say his ship was out to sea and came into the Harbour after the attack..(have no proof but beieve he was on the USS Chicago at the time).
  18. Mary Jo Batters says:
    23 Feb 2013 07:42:42 PM

    My uncle, Charles "Butch" Benedict survived the sinking of the Chicago. He framed a ten dollar bill that he had in his pocket at the time.

    He later sailed on the Uss Mobile, as other folks have said their relatives did. My uncle attended many Mobile reunions in the 1980's and '90's. He was good friends with George Yanchek.

    My uncle died in December 1999.

  19. Al Wasner says:
    9 Dec 2013 04:03:52 PM

    The Chicago's ship cruise book from June 1940 is for sale on Ebay. It was called "The Annual "Big Shot" of the United States Ship Chicago". I noticed some of the names listed here are also listed in that book, which I have a copy of. It's a very rare publication with many, many photos. My dad was Richard A. Wasner who survived the sinking of CA29 Chicago.
  20. Dave Almond says:
    20 Dec 2013 02:13:04 PM

    can you clarify a point, you state Chicago was attacked by japanese midget submarines on 31 May 1942 while she was moored off garden island, Sydney Australia. The problem with this is that Garden island is on the other side of Australia, near Freemantle, Western Australia. I think there must be some misunderstanding about the location of this incident.
  21. David Stubblebine says:
    21 Dec 2013 09:54:37 PM

    Dave: I know nothing about the Garden Island near Freemantle but I am sure you are right. Garden Island in Sydney Harbor is actually a peninsula that extends off the end of Potts Point and is currently the site of RAN Fleet Base East.
    [-33.859213, 151.228781]
  22. Tim Pitts says:
    30 Mar 2014 09:44:55 PM

    My father Jack Pitts served on the Chicago at the time of her sinking. he never said much of the two times his ships were sunk or his experience at the bombing of Perl Harbor aboard the USS Henley.
    Any information of his time aboard the Chicago would be appreciated.
  23. Bill Rauch says:
    22 Jun 2014 08:52:15 AM

    My father Paul A. Rauch served on the USS Chicago (ca-29) at time of the sinking. He was a radar man at the time. He was a survivor. To a family of a beloved sailor lost at that sinking and trying to find some closure. My father said his best friend (I do not know his name) perished that night jumping off the side of the ship, immediately. Paul never, ever forgot that tragedy. I am sorry for your loss that ever you may be. He later served on the USS San Francisco (ca-38) till the end of the war. He is now deceased January 11, 2008. Age 85.
  24. Stephen E. Smith says:
    14 Oct 2014 03:59:56 PM

    My mother had a friend who died on the Chicago. His name was Clifford Blythe, Seaman 1st Class.
  25. Stephen E. Smith says:
    30 Oct 2014 01:03:28 PM

    More on Seaman 1st Class Clifford Blythe: After the Chicago went down, the Navy put a media blackout on the incident by order of Admiral Nimitz who had served aboard a previous ship, also named the USS Chicago. I don't know how long the blackout lasted but Blythe's parents, who lived near Liberal, MO, were told there son was MIA, rather than confirmed dead. The parents evidently held out hope for several years until a shipmate passed through the area and said Clifford had been doing laundry and could not have survived. After that, they accepted the truth. A sad war story.

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Event(s) Participated:
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Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago Photo Gallery
Chicago being prepared for launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 Apr 1930
See all 14 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago



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