Chicago file photo [3669]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNorthampton-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard
Launched10 Apr 1930
Commissioned9 Mar 1931
Sunk30 Jan 1943
Displacement9,300 tons standard
Length600 feet
Beam66 feet
Draft17 feet
Speed32 knots
Armament9x8in, 4x5in, 6x21in torpedo tubes


ww2dbaseCruiser 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.

ww2dbaseWhen 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.

ww2dbaseOn 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.

ww2dbaseStarting 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.

ww2dbaseIn 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.

Samuel Eliot Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal

Last Major Revision: May 2007

Heavy Cruiser Chicago Interactive Map


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 16 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Chicago


1944 United States Army map of San Cristobal and Rennell Islands with a portion of the Coral Sea in the Solomon Islands.

Chicago Operational Timeline

9 Mar 1931 Cruiser USS Chicago (CA-29) was commissioned into service with Captain Manley Hale Simons in command.
28 Jul 1942 US Navy and Marines began a four-day amphibious landing exercise at Fiji as rehearsals for the Guadalcanal landings set for two weeks later.

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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
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.
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. Commenter identity confirmed 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.
26. Robert Fetter says:
30 Sep 2015 01:47:28 PM

My uncle, Edwin Fetter, served on the Chicago. After the sinking, he was transferred to the USS Mississippi.
27. Rachel says:
19 Nov 2015 05:14:39 PM

Hey yall my Uncle Aaron Methe was on the Chicago and I am looking for any information on any shipmates he served with. Any one with information please contact me at
28. Chris Grimmett says:
6 Dec 2015 09:49:49 AM

My father, Claud "Red" Grimmett, was a Storekeeper on Chicago until she was sunk. Thankfully, he was one of the survivors. Never spoke much about battle, but had fond memories of his 5 years in Navy. Dad passed away in '99. I served in USN for 21 years and retired in '00. He loved to hear details of my deployments and seemed to live vicariously through me. I salute all the brave men of Chicago and all WWII vets.
29. Anonymous says:
31 Jan 2016 11:01:29 AM

My adopted dad served on the Chicago, his name was John Foster and he was a gunners mate I believe. If anyone has any information about him or his crew that survived I would like very much to hear about them. My daughter says Grandpa was and will always be her biggest hero.
30. Neil W Walton says:
30 May 2016 05:05:22 PM

My brother Rupert W Walton, went down with the USS Chicago. Got burned fighting fire, and was in sick bay when the ship was hit.
31. Mike Kelly says:
30 May 2016 08:37:39 PM

My dad, Theodore John Kelly, served on the Chicago when it was sunk. He remembered the ship going down with many sailors clinging to her bow frightened of sharks. I belive he was a bosun's mate. His Brother, My Uncle Tom Kelly, said my Dad has an uncontrollable "twitch" for 6 months after coming back to San Francisco.
32. Rich Musal says:
26 Jun 2016 06:07:30 PM

My Dad, Clarence Musal, who we lost in 1991, was on the Chicago when it was sunk. He had his appendix taken out the night before and was thrown over the side and rescued.

He had only been aboard for a short time, starting in December, 1942.

he went on to Noumea and the USS Guam.

I had heard the Captain was disgraced and committed suicide. It doesn't sound like his fault.
33. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
26 Jun 2016 08:11:40 PM

Rich (Comment #32):
Following the sinking of the Chicago, Captain Ralph Davis did receive heavy criticism but more so the commanding Admiral, Robert Giffen. Both survived the scathing and went on to have useful careers through to the end of the war. So far as I know, neither committed suicide.

The story where the “Captain was disgraced and committed suicide” sounds more like Captain Charles Butler McVay III, captain of the cruiser USS Indianapolis at the time of her sinking in 1945. He was treated abysmally by the Navy, being the only ship’s captain in US Naval history to be formally court martialed for losing his ship in combat. Years later, he shot himself. Years after that in 2000, he was formally cleared of all wrongdoing by a Special Act of Congress. This action by Congress was brought about in no small way by a 12-year-old Florida schoolboy whose curiosity over the incident was raised by the character 'Quint' telling the Indianapolis story in the movie 'Jaws.'
34. Terry Popravak says:
15 Jul 2016 11:37:27 AM

The disgraced captain mentioned above (comment 32) may be a reference to Captain Howard D. Bode, USN, who was relieved of command of Chicago after the ship returned to the US from the Pacific after being damaged in the disastrous Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1943. Reassigned to shore duty in Panama, he unfortunately took his own life in April of 1943 after he learned he was to be officially censured for his conduct during the Savo Island battle.

Am currently researching the history of USS Chicago (CA-29) for a prospective book about the ship and crew, in peace and at war. Appreciate any information from Chicago crew and/or family about experience aboard her, 1931 to 1943. Contact at
35. Alan Wasner says:
5 Aug 2016 11:49:30 AM

My dad Richard A. Wasner survived the sinking.
I put his cruise book from the Chicago CA-29 up on Ebay today.

36. Anonymous says:
8 Aug 2016 06:55:27 AM

This image is dated 8 Apr, but is linked to the date 8 Aug. It is out of place. The Chicago was active at Guadalcanal on 8 Aug, in another year, but that's hardly justification to include its launching in the wrong month.
37. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
8 Aug 2016 07:48:55 AM

Thank you for raising that to our attention. We have corrected the typographical error behind the scenes so the photograph is now linked to the correct date (ie. 8 Apr 1930). Thank you.
38. Jim Collins says:
18 Nov 2016 11:34:52 AM

My father BT2 or 3 Ira Collins when it sunk. That was his 2nd sinking. Was on
the California at Pearl.
39. Anonymous says:
7 Dec 2016 11:19:28 AM

My father, who is 98 yrs old, was the
radioman on the USS Chicago when it was sunk in January 1943.
40. Joseph Kerr says:
16 Jan 2017 10:37:28 PM

Looking for a sailor aboard the USS Chicago when it sunk the only information I have he was engaged to a Australian Girl when they were in Sydney and had a child his name or nickname was lester
41. Cheryl says:
8 Jun 2017 10:22:05 AM

In 1955, my grandfather built a scale model of the ship for his boss at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego. Our family would like to donate it to a museum for display. It is enclosed in a glass display case that is approximately 2' X 4'. Any information would be appreciated.
42. Jeff Gemmaka says:
27 Jun 2017 05:26:31 PM

My Father (still Alive) as of 26 June 2017
Frank T Gemmaka was on the USS Chicago when it sank.
Looking for old shipmates please concoct me.
43. Libby says:
10 Aug 2017 03:39:25 AM

Recently cleaning out my fathers effects. He had a red white blue ribbon with Lee Armitage USS Chicago written on it. My father was in the Australian navy and served in the Oacific in WW2
44. Tncopdoc says:
2 Sep 2017 12:20:22 PM

My late father in law was on the Chicago during the Battle of Rennell Island. I have the muster roster from the December sailing from San Francisco. I am interested in all stories or information about the crew and ship.
45. LP8256 says:
22 Oct 2017 06:20:35 PM

My grandfather served on the USS Chicago. Also looking for info on folks that served with him.
46. Dennis Brown says:
11 Dec 2017 07:22:53 PM

My father was on the Chicago when it was sunk off Rennel Island. He was a marine assigned to a gun turret. When the Japanese Planes attacked the ship he was wounded. He remained at his post continuing to fire at incoming enemy planes. The story we heard was that he found himself in the water when the ship sank. At some point he was rescued, recovered in New Zealand and re- upped and was wounded a second time on Pelilu Island.
47. KB says:
27 Dec 2017 04:48:57 PM

My Grandfather was on USS Chicago from 1936 until it's sinking in 1943. Always looking to touch bases with other descendants of the Chicago's crew.
48. Mike Kelly says:
17 Jan 2018 05:35:20 PM

My dad (James Francis Kelly) was on the USS Chicago Heavy Cruiser during WW2. I would like to know more about the day he was on the Cruiser when Pearl Harbor was hit in December 7, 1941. any papers with his name on it, etc.
49. Pam says:
4 Apr 2018 11:46:58 AM

Looking for info on a Charles Colman, USS Chicago in 1933 at Mare Island. Found a poem he write among my baby items that my mother saved. Curious!
50. Patricia says:
10 Jun 2018 09:42:02 AM

My Dad, was on the USS Chicago and was on the ship at Pearl Harbor. He was a survivor.
51. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
10 Jun 2018 11:09:53 AM

Patricia (above):
A minor correction to Chicago’s role during the Pearl Harbor Attack. At the time of the attack, Chicago was indeed assigned to the fleet at Pearl Harbor, but her role that particular day was at sea escorting the carrier Lexington to Midway Island. Chicago was 800 miles away from Pearl Harbor during the actual attack. After receiving word of the attack, Chicago and the rest of her Task Group immediately began sweeping the seas for the Japanese fleet, but without success. Your father’s role was no less important by these facts nor is he any less of a survivor, but this is where Chicago was that day.
52. Bruce Swan says:
2 Feb 2019 04:56:35 PM

My Uncle Milo Nelson from Garvin Minnesota died on 30 Jan. 43. He must have been in the lower level of the Chicago and took a direct hit from the torpedo. I would like to know if any WW2 survivors of the Chicago knew him or remember his name. I am a AF Veteran and love reading about the USS Chicage.
53. Christina (Snyder) Bradley says:
8 Nov 2019 11:57:46 AM

My dad, Clifford Snyder, was on the Chicago. He was stationed both in Hawaii and Australia. He was on board the heavy cruiser during the Battle of Rennell. He spent time in the ocean waiting to be rescued after the Imperial Japanese Navy struck again and sunk the Chicago. I proudly have his Shellback. And, I proudly say he is my dad. Thanks to all the women and men who served and continue to serve!
54. Helen Batters Rowley says:
16 Jun 2020 08:21:14 PM

My Uncle Charles A. Benedict was on board the Chicago when it was sunk. Here are things I heard:
1. It sunk slowly so when the men had to go into the ocean - they were almost level with the water.
2. My uncle was below deck (perhaps a fireman,) and I was told that there were two ways up to the deck, and that the way he went were the survivors, but the other way was blocked.
3. I heard that the men floated in the ocean for a long time (10 hours/) and were rescued by a Russian ship.

Also - I can say that he suffered from lung ailments and the doctor said it may have been from being in the water so long and that there was oil in the water.

His nickname was "Benny."

Hope this may help someone.
55. Edward B. (Chip) Jarman, Jr. says:
9 Sep 2021 09:36:11 AM

My father was one of the combat officers in the CIC during this final battle aboard the heavy cruiser USS CHICAGO CA-29. I am retired Navy and was an Operations Specialist (Radarman) from 1981-2002.
I have (and treasure) a sheet of memo paper encased in a double-sided glass frame of the notes he took the night of the initial attack by submarine. I believe he was one of the gunnery officers as that is the printed inscription at the top of the note paper.
There are many notes, personal and tactical about what was going through his mind that night.
There are expletives about Admiral Tojo, the Zero bombers and calculating what direction they are coming from. There are also personal notes about his love for my mother.
He survived the abandoned ship and went on to command destroyers, became COMDESRON 17 out of San Diego and ultimately the Commanding Officer of the NAVAL ORDNANCE LABORATORY CORONA, now Norco.
He retired in '68 and died in 1979, three years before I joined the Navy.
Please feel free to email me at
Re: Capt. Edward B. Jarman, USN (Deceased)
56. Maria Mercer says:
5 Nov 2021 08:16:16 PM

There is no mention of the Pilots who flew the spotter planes on USS Chicago. One pilot was Sgt James Coulter, USAAF. I have his photo. My mother was informed he was killed in action off Rennel Island in the Pacific. I wonder if any planes made it off the ship or all went down with the ship. Can anyone tell me where to look for details of death of Sgt James Coulter please.
57. Anonymous says:
21 Mar 2022 07:56:38 PM

My great uncle John Gotinsky was on the ship when it sank. A family member has a set of keys from the ship engraved with his name and USS Chicago
58. Anonymous says:
21 May 2023 07:37:08 PM

My grandfather was on the Chicago when it sunk. Hi name is Elmer Weaver is any one has info on the crew list let me know please. I would love to know more.
59. Jim carriere says:
11 Oct 2023 04:36:57 AM

My fathers James G carriere ( Snookie) was on the U.S.S. Chicago . His watch stopped at 16:23 when he stepped into the water. He has since passed 1999 .. he never attended any reunions. Dad was then assign to the USS mobile and has a record of all the battles recorded. If interested.

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More on Chicago
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Coral Sea
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» Solomon Islands Campaign

Heavy Cruiser Chicago Photo Gallery
Chicago being prepared for launching, at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, 8 Apr 1930
See all 16 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Chicago

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