USS Columbia file photo [20177]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassCleveland-class Light Cruiser
Hull NumberCL-56
BuilderNew York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, United States
Laid Down18 Aug 1940
Launched17 Dec 1941
Commissioned29 Jul 1942
Decommissioned30 Nov 1946
Displacement10,160 tons standard
Length610 feet
Beam66 feet
Draft25 feet
MachineryGeared turbines, 4 boilers, 4 shafts
Power Output100,000 shaft horsepower
Speed32 knots
Armament4x3x152mm 47cal guns, 6x2x127mm 38cal DP guns, 4x4x40mm Bofors guns, 6x2x40mm Bofors guns, 10x2x20mm Oerlikon cannon
Armor3.25-5in belt, 2in deck, 1.5-6in turret, 6in barbettes, 2.25-5in conning tower


ww2dbaseUSS Columbia was laid down prior to the US entry into WW2 and was commissioned into serivice in Jul 1942. She reached the South Pacific in Dec 1942. She participated in the Solomon Islands campaign, participating in the Battle of Rennell Island in Jan 1943 (during which she shot down three Japanese aircraft), bombarding Japanese positions in support of the New Georgia landings in Jun to Jul 1943, participating in the Empress Augusta Bay in Nov 1943, among other actions. She spent a brief period of time in the New Hebrides in Jan 1944 for rest and training before heading out to the front once again, supporting the occupation of Nissan of Green Islands between Bougainville and New Ireland in Feb 1944, patrolling the waters between Truk of Caroline Islands and Kavieng of New Ireland in early Mar 1944, and supported the landings at Emirau north of New Ireland in late Mar 1944. After a period of overhaul in San Francisco, California, United States, she returned to the Solomon Islands area in Aug 1944. She supported landing operations at Peleliu, Palau Islands in Sep 1944 and then at Dinagat Islands and Leyte in the Philippine Islands in the following month. In the latter action, USS Columbia sank Japanese destroyer Asagumo, which had already been damaged in previous actions. In Dec 1944, she supported the landing operations at Mindoro, Philippine Islands. On 6 Jan 1945, off Luzon in the Philippine Islands, she was struck by two special attack aircraft. The second aircraft and its bomb penetrated two decks before the bomb detonated, killing 13 and wounding 44. Prompt flooding of two magazines successfully prevented the fire from detonating ammunition, allowing her to remain on the front lines, albeit with one of her turrets disabled. Three days later, she was struck by another special attack aircraft, killing 24 and wounding 97. Again, her damage control team was able to keep the damage from spreading, thus allowing her to serve on the front line a bit longer. The successful efforts earned her a Navy Unit Commendation. She received temporary repairs at San Pedro Bay, Leyte before heading to the west coast of the United States for permanent repairs. She would not return to the Pacific War until Jun 1945. In Jul 1945, she covered the landing operations at Borneo. After the end of WW2, she provided transport for US military personnel to and from Truk of Caroline Islands, Guam and Saipan of Mariana Islands, and Iwo Jima of Japan until 31 Oct 1945. She was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States in Nov 1946. She was sold for scrap in 1959.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Feb 2014

Light Cruiser Columbia (CL-56) Interactive Map

Columbia Operational Timeline

18 Aug 1940 The keel of Columbia was laid down by New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey, United States.
17 Dec 1941 Columbia was launched in Camden, New Jersey, United States, sponsored by Miss J. A. Paschal.
29 Jul 1942 USS Columbia was commission into service with Captain William A. Heard in command.
9 Nov 1942 USS Columbia departed Norfolk, Virginia, United States.
10 Dec 1942 USS Columbia arrived at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides.
1 Feb 1943 USS Columbia arrived at Efate, New Hebrides.
1 Apr 1943 Captain Frank E. Beatty, Jr. was named the commanding officer of USS Columbia, relieving Captain William A. Heard.
5 Sep 1943 USS Columbia set sail for Sydney, Australia.
24 Sep 1943 USS Columbia arrived at Vella LaVella, Solomon Islands.
13 Feb 1944 USS Columbia arrived at Nissan, Green Islands to support the landings.
18 Feb 1944 USS Columbia departed Nissan, Green Islands.
17 Mar 1944 USS Columbia arrived at Emirau, Bismarck Islands to support the landings.
23 Mar 1944 USS Columbia departed Emirau, Bismarck Islands.
4 Apr 1944 USS Columbia departed Port Purvis, Nggela Islands (Florida Islands), Solomon Islands for a scheduled overhaul in San Francisco, California, United States.
25 Jun 1944 Captain Maurice E. Curts was named the commanding officer of USS Columbia, relieving Captain Frank E. Beatty, Jr.
24 Aug 1944 USS Columbia arrived in the Solomon Islands.
6 Sep 1944 USS Columbia departed Port Purvis, Nggela Islands (Florida Islands), Solomon Islands.
28 Sep 1944 USS Columbia arrived at Manus, Admiralty Islands.
6 Oct 1944 USS Columbia departed Manus, Admiralty Islands.
17 Oct 1944 USS Columbia supported landing operations at Dinagat Islands, Philippine Islands.
14 Dec 1944 One of USS Columbia's 127-millimeter guns misfired during combat off the Philippine Islands, killing four.
6 Jan 1945 USS Columbia was struck by two special attack aircraft off the Philippine Islands. The second aircraft and its bomb penetrated two decks before the bomb detonated. 13 were killed and 44 were wounded.
9 Jan 1945 USS Columbia was struck by a special attack aircraft off the Philippine Islands, killing 24 and wounding 97.
16 Jun 1945 USS Columbia arrived at Leyte, Philippine Islands.
19 Jun 1945 USS Columbia departed Leyte, Philippine Islands.
28 Jun 1945 USS Columbia arrived off Balikpapan, Borneo to escort minesweepers.
1 Jul 1945 USS Columbia covered landing operations at Borneo.
2 Jul 1945 USS Columbia provided naval gunfire support for Australian troops fighting on Borneo.
31 Jul 1945 Captain Marcy M. DuPre, Jr. was named the commanding officer of USS Columbia, relieving Captain Maurice E. Curts.
31 Oct 1945 USS Columbia set sail for the United States.
5 Dec 1945 USS Columbia arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States for scheduled overhaul.
1 Jul 1946 USS Columbia completed her duties as a training ship for US Naval Reserve personnel. Commander Henry F. Gorski was named her new commanding officer, relieving Captain Bruce B. Adell.
30 Nov 1946 USS Columbia was decommission from service in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
18 Feb 1959 Columbia was sold to the firm Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, United States for scrap.
1 Mar 1959 Columbia was struck from US Navy Register.


USS Columbia underway, 1943-44.USS Columbia and other warships off Bougainville, Solomon Islands, 1-2 Nov 1943; note crashed Japanese aircraft ahead of USS ColumbiaUSS Columbia bombarding Japanese positions on Bougainville, Solomon islands, 1 Nov 1943USS Columbia underway, late 1944; note Measure 31-32-33 Design 3d camouflage
See all 16 photographs of Light Cruiser Columbia (CL-56)

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Elmer says:
12 Oct 2016 06:00:43 PM

Trying to confirm that my father,Elmer I. Gage was a boilerman aboard the USS Columbia, circa 1942 -45.
2. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
12 Oct 2016 09:44:57 PM

Muster Rolls for USS Columbia show Apprentice Seaman Elmer Irving Gage, service number 666 33 60, enlisted 24 Jun 1942 at Springfield, Mass, came aboard Columbia on 9 Sep 1942, was promoted to Seaman 1st class on 1 Sep 1943, made his rating as Fireman 2nd class on 1 Oct 1943, and was transferred off the ship on 1 Jan 1944 at Florida Island, Solomon Islands bound for the USA.
3. MaryAnne says:
25 May 2017 10:36:59 AM

My father, Thomas Eugene Thompson, I believe was on this ship. He died when i was young and don't know much about his service.
4. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
26 May 2017 12:12:03 AM

MaryAnne (above):
Muster Rolls show Apprentice Seaman Thomas E Thompson, service number 256 42 99, who enlisted 4 May 1942 at Washington DC, was received aboard the Columbia from the Philadelphia Receiving Station upon the ship’s commissioning on 29 Jul 1942 and was transferred off the ship as a Seaman 1st class on 21 Feb 1945 to the Naval Hospital in Long Beach, CA.
5. Andrew Burgess says:
31 May 2017 08:06:07 PM

I am trying to find out more information about my grandfather's service on the uss Columbia, Robert Thurman Burgess. specifically was he injured during his time on this ship?
6. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
1 Jun 2017 10:08:55 PM

Andrew Burgess (above):
The Muster Rolls for the USS Columbia say Fireman 1st class Robert T. Burgess, Jr., service number 756 08 54, was transferred off the ship along with 7 other sailors to the base hospital at Seeadler Harbor, Manus on 23 Dec 1944. The Columbia’s War Diary says the ship had just completed a sortie in support of the landings on Mindoro in the Philippines. The War Diary reports that on 14 Dec 1944, the ship’s forward 5-inch gun accidentally discharged when being unloaded. The gun fired into the superstructure above and beside the bridge killing 4 men, injuring 6, with 28 receiving minor injuries. The injured men are not named but there were no other injuries reported in the War Diary during this sortie. Neither document describes the nature of any of the injuries. If you want to find more about your grandfather’s service, request his service record:
7. Louis Otte II says:
7 Mar 2018 08:22:34 AM

My Dad Louis Otte who recently passed away served on the USS Columbia during WWII. Would like to know more about the dates he served and his duties on the ship. Thank you.
8. jim renken - norman berkenpas says:
4 May 2018 04:41:40 AM

norman berkenpas served on this ship - he brought home peace treaty signing at truk in the mess hall - also like any information you can give me
9. John Rooney says:
15 May 2018 07:11:00 AM

My father served on Columbia in WW2 & family speaks of him being MIA & then family was informed he was found in Australia.
Any Columbia history supporting this would be appreciated & certainly be helpful in completing my research on my dad in the war.
Thank you.

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More on Columbia
Event(s) Participated:
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Palau Islands and Ulithi Islands Campaigns
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 1, the Leyte Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Borneo Campaign

Light Cruiser Columbia (CL-56) Photo Gallery
USS Columbia underway, 1943-44.
See all 16 photographs of Light Cruiser Columbia (CL-56)

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