|Ship Class||Atlanta-class Light Cruiser|
|Builder Name||Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, Massachusetts, United States|
|Laid Down||15 May 1940|
|Launched||6 Sep 1941|
|Commissioned||28 Feb 1942|
|Decommissioned||9 Nov 1946|
|Displacement||6,000 tons standard|
|Armament||16x5in, 16x1.1in, 8x20mm, 8x21in torpedo tubes|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseUSS San Juan, with Captain James E. Maher in command, held her shakedown cruise in the Atlantic Ocean in Mar 1942. On 5 Jun, she sailed with carrier Wasp from Hampton Roads, Virginia, United States for the Pacific Ocean; the group sailed from San Diego, California for the Solomon Islands on 30 Jun. She provided gunfire support at Tulagi on 7 Aug 1942, and participated in the Battle of Savo Island in the early morning of 9 Aug. After day break on 9 Aug, she escorted empty transports from Guadalcanal to Nouméa. She sailed with Wasp through most of Aug in anticipation of a Japanese carrier attack, but when the attack came on 24 Aug with the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, she missed the action because she was refueling elsewhere, though she returned to escort carrier Enterprise, damaged in the battle, to Pearl Harbor for repairs. They arrived there on 10 Sep 1942.
ww2dbaseAfter a two-month rest, San Juan sailed for the South Pacific again. She delivered 20mm guns to the United States Marine Corps troops at Funafuti, Ellice Islands, then patrolled in the Gilbert Islands area, sinking two Japanese patrol vessels on 16 Oct. On 23 Oct, she joined Enterprise, and participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 Oct. In that battle, she was hit by a bomb from a dive bomber that went through the stern, flooding several compartments and damaging her rudder. She received temporary repairs at Nouméa on 30 Oct, then sailed to Sydney, Australia for permanent repairs.
ww2dbaseOn 24 Nov 1942, San Juan joined carrier USS Saratoga at Nadi, Viti Levu Island, Fiji Islands. Between Dec 1942 and Jul 1943, she was based at Nouméa and operated in the Coral Sea. In late Jul, her base of operation was moved to New Hebrides, first Havannah Harbor, Efate, then Espiritu Santo. She escorted Saratoga as her aircraft supported the Bougainville landings in Oct 1943, then supported her again in Nov 1943 during the Gilbert Islands Campaign. In Dec, she escorted Essex on a raid at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, fighting off persistent torpedo attacks on 4 and 5 Dec. On 6 Dec, she sailed for the United States for overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard in California.
ww2dbaseReturning to Saratoga's group off Pearl Harbor on 19 Jan 1944, San Juan participated in the Marshall Islands Campaign by covering the Eniwetok operations in Feb. Between 30 Mar and 1 Apr, she escorted carriers Yorktown and Lexington as their aircraft struck Palau, Yap, and Ulithi Islands. On 7 Apr, she escorted Hornet which covered the landings at Hollandia, New Guinea and struck Truk on 29 and 30 Apr. In Jun, she escorted Hornet for raids on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima as indirect support for the Saipan, Mariana Islands landing. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, she acted as anti-aircraft screen for carrier Hornet. She escorted carriers Wasp and Franklin as their aircraft struck Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima as indirect support for the Guam operation. She sailed for San Francisco, California for overhaul in Aug 1944.
ww2dbaseSan Juan returned to the South Pacific on 21 Nov 1944 off Ulithi Islands, joining carrier Lexington's task group. In early Dec, she supported carrier operations at Taiwan and Luzon, Philippine Islands. On 18 and 19 Dec, she was battered by Typhoon Cobra. On 30 Dec, she departed from Ulithi with the carriers to launch strikes on Taiwan, Okinawa, and Luzon from 3 to 9 Jan 1945, and then strikes on Saigon, Cam Ranh Bay and Hong Kong from 10 to 20 Jan. In Feb, she supported Hornet as her aircraft struck Tokyo. In Mar and Apr, she operated with carriers east of Okinawa, during which time aircraft from her task group assisted in the sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamato on 7 Apr. On 13 Jun, she arrived at Leyte Gulf in the Philippine Islands for repairs. On 1 Jul, she joined carrier Bennington for more strikes on the Japanese home islands.
ww2dbaseSan Juan was at sea when Japan surrendered; on 27 Aug, she sailed in the van with the US Navy 3rd Fleet into Sagami Wan, just outside Tokyo Bay. On 29 Aug, she entered Tokyo Bay and landed parties which liberated prisoners of war at Omori camp, Ofuna camp, and Shanagawa hospital; Commodore Rodger W. Simpson of San Juan oversaw the caring of the former POWs until they were evacuated by hospital ships Benevolence and Rescue. She performed similar duties in the Nagoya-Hamamatsu and Sendai-Kamanishi areas. Beginning on 14 Nov, she participated in Operation Magic Carpet and made two runs back to the United States, bringing home American troops. She was decommissioned at Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, United States in Nov 1946 after being inactivated for the most part of that year. San Juan was sold to National Metal and Steel Corporation, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, California for scrapping on 31 Oct 1961.
ww2dbaseSource: United States Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
Last Major Revision: Sep 2007
Light Cruiser San Juan (CL-54) Interactive Map
San Juan Operational Timeline
|28 Feb 1942||San Juan was commissioned into service.|
|19 Jan 1944||USS San Juan arrived off Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii and rejoined USS Saratoga's task group.|
|30 Aug 1945||USS San Juan evacuated Allied prisoners of war in Japan.|
|9 Nov 1946||San Juan was decommissioned from service.|
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» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» New Guinea-Papua Campaign, Phase 3
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Mariana Islands Campaign and the Great Turkey Shoot
» Typhoon Cobra
» Raid into the South China Sea
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943