Pensacola file photo [2475]

USS Pensacola

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassPensacola-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderNew York Navy Yard
Laid Down27 Oct 1926
Launched25 Apr 1929
Commissioned6 Feb 1930
Decommissioned26 Aug 1946
Displacement9100 tons standard
Length586 feet
Beam65 feet
Draft15 feet
MachineryParsons turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts
Power Output107000 SHP
Speed32 knots
Range10,000nm at 15 knots
Armament10x203mm, 4x127mm


ww2dbasePensacola was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers. In the early 1930s, she served on both coasts of the United States. During the attack on Pearl Harbor which started the Pacific War and drew the United States into WW2, she was en route between Pearl Harbor and Manila; she was diverted to Brisbane, Australia, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 19 Jan 1942. On 17 Feb 1942, she arrived off Samoa to join Task Force 11, which was centered around the carrier Lexington.

ww2dbaseOn 20 Feb 1942, Pensacola's anti-aircraft weapons helped to repel an aerial attack by 18 Japanese aircraft in two waves. On 6 Mar, carrier Yorktown joined the task force. Pensacola escorted the carriers in their offensives and patrols in the South Pacific until Apr 1942.

ww2dbaseOn 26 May 1942, Pensacola entered Pearl Harbor and joined with the carrier Enterprise. Two days later, they departed for Midway Atoll and made a rendezvous with Task Force 17 in which Pensacola participated in the Battle of Midway with. As Yorktown was attacked by Japanese aircraft, Pensacola left Enterprise to aid the carrier, but by the time she arrived Yorktown had already been disabled. While Yorktown's damage control crew worked furiously, Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support, shooting down four torpedo bombers during the second attack. After Yorktown sank, Pensacola returned to Enterprise and embarked on a chase of the Japanese forces. The Enterprise group returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Jun.

ww2dbaseOn 22 Jun 1942, Pensacola transported 1,157 men of Marine Aircraft Group 22 to Midway, and remained in the Hawaiian chain until 7 Aug.

ww2dbaseIn Aug 1942, Pensacola sailed for the South Pacific. On 2 Oct, she departed Noumea, New Caledonia with carrier Hornet for Guadalcanal. On 24 Oct, the Hornet group joined Enterprise group, and two days later the combined force entered into the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. During the battle Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support against Japanese dive and torpedo bombers, but she was not able to prevent Hornet from receiving fatal damage. Hornet was eventually abandoned; Pensacola brought 188 survivors of the carrier to Noumea on 30 Oct. Although the price was hefty, the Americans stopped a major Japanese naval offensive.

ww2dbaseIn early Nov 1942, Pensacola guarded transports landing Marines on Guadalcanal. At Guadalcanal, she participated in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov and the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 Nov. In the latter action, among heavy gunfire, she was struck by two torpedoes, causing heavy damage. The torpedoes struck on the port side, flooding her engine room and ripping open the oil tanks, but she continued to fire the guns that remained functional. Despite the heavy damage, the damage control crew of Pensacola saved the ship, pulling into port at Tulagi while still aflame. 125 were killed and 68 injured at the end of the battle. After emergency repairs at Tulagi and Espiritu Santo, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 27 Jan 1943 to receive proper repairs.

ww2dbasePensacola's next mission was not until Nov 1943 when she bombarded Betio of Tarawa Atoll with 600 shells to soften Japanese defenses before the Marine landing. For the next two months, she performed as anti-aircraft screen for carriers and supply ships. In Jan and Feb 1944, she bombarded Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands. Between Mar and Apr 1944, she screened carriers across the Pacific. In Jun, she was transferred to northern Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields in the Kurile Islands in late Jun 1944 and patrolled off Alaska in Jul. Returning to Central Pacific, she bombarded Wake Island on 3 Sep and Marcus Island on 9 Oct. In mid-Oct, she participated in the campaign to gain control of the Philippines, including her direct involving at the landing at Luzon on 20 Oct.

ww2dbaseIn the night of 11 to 12 Nov 1944, Pensacola bombarded Iwo Jima. On 8 Dec 1944, 5 Jan 1945, 24 Jan 1945, and 27 Jan 1945, she bombarded Japanese defenses at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima to prepare for the landing scheduled for 19 Feb. On 16 Feb, she was involved in the three days of pre-invasion naval bombardment, receiving six hits from Japanese shore batteries in the process, killing 17 men and injuring 119 others. She remained at Iwo Jima until 3 mar.

ww2dbaseOn 25 Mar 1945, Pensacola supported the landing at Okinawa and remained there until 15 Apr. She then returned to Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States for overhaul. She exited from the shipyard on 3 Aug, by then the war was about to end. She anchored in the Japanese port of Ominato on 8 Sep as a part of the occupation force, and performed as a Magic Carpet transport to bring American servicemen home between Nov 1945 and Jan 1946.

ww2dbasePensacola was decommissioned in 1946 after being used as the target of an atomic test. She was sunk on 10 Nov 1948.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Heavy Cruiser USS Pensacola Interactive Map

USS Pensacola Operational Timeline

6 Feb 1930 Pensacola was commissioned into service.
19 Jan 1942 USS Pensacola arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
26 Aug 1946 Pensacola was decommissioned from service.


Pensacola at anchor, during the 1930sHeavy cruiser USS Chester leading her sister ships, USS Salt Lake City, USS Pensacola, and USS Northampton during Fleet Problem XV in Panama Bay, Panama, 21 Apr 1934.Cruiser Pensacola underway, Sep 1935Aerial view of the Pearl Harbor Submarine Piers at Merry Point, 13 Oct 1941. Also pictured is the U-shaped Headquarters Building for the Pacific Fleet and a tank farm at right. Note one tank painted as a building.
See all 15 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Pensacola

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Ted Gatchel says:
20 Jul 2016 05:34:14 PM

My father, John Philip Gatchel passed away on 1996. He was a 20 year navy veteran and served on the USS Pensacola in WW II. Is there any record that he served onboard, he was a CPO. Thank you.
2. John Fitzpatrick says:
27 Jan 2017 04:11:38 PM

My dad was on the USS Pensacola when it was struck. Are there records? He died in 1994. His name was also John Fitzpatrick. I served in the Navy in Vietnam.
3. Mike Klein says:
2 Apr 2017 03:59:06 PM

My father, Bernard N. Klein was in V-Division aboard the USS Pensacola (CA-24) during 1943 to 1945, last two battles in the pacific. He gave me amazing photos taken during the war by the ship photographer. He passed in 2001, God bless them all!
4. C.J. says:
1 Jun 2017 08:29:55 PM

My friend, Don Evanstad, age 94, sailed on the Pensacola. He is doing well and will turn 95 this fall. Hats off to all of the men of the Pensacola.
5. Davidw says:
22 Aug 2017 03:32:00 PM

Pensacola was not part of the 1st Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she was part of the screen for Enterprise.
6. Mark Weaver says:
22 Aug 2017 03:47:22 PM

My late uncle Harold H. Hiser served on the Pensacola and was wounded in action. He used to host an annual reunion of "Pensy Pals" every summer at his cottage in Sanford, MI.
7. Mike Klein says:
10 Nov 2017 11:10:00 AM

C.J., if possible, please ask Mr. Evanstad if he knew my father, his nickname was either Bernie or Mike. He served as a Metalsmith for the planes. I can contacted via Thanks!

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More on USS Pensacola
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign

Heavy Cruiser USS Pensacola Photo Gallery
Pensacola at anchor, during the 1930s
See all 15 photographs of Heavy Cruiser USS Pensacola

Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, 16 Mar 1945