USS San Francisco (CA-38)

San Francisco overseeing minsweeping operations off Korea in September, 1945. Note the older SOC Seagull floatplanes carried amidships. Photo in the collection of the US Navy History & Heritage Command.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

USS San Francisco (CA-38) was a New Orleans-class heavy cruiser, commissioned in 1934. Built in California, San Francisco  transferred to the Atlantic for a fleet exercise in 1939, and remained assigned to that fleet until January, 1940. Undergoing overhaul during the Pearl Harbor attack, San Francisco's guns were inoperable, so her crew scrambled over to USS New Orleans to pass ammunition. Undamaged, She then covered the carrier raids in the Spring of 1942. In September, she became the flagship of Task Force 64 during the Guadalcanal campaign, and filled this role in the Battle of Cape Esperance, and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. During the close-quarters melee of the latter, San Francisco was badly mauled, and accidentally fired on the USS Atlanta (CL-51), but she also disabled the steering of the Japanese battleship Hiei. San Francisco spent three months undergoing repairs after the battle, and subsequently joined the shore bombardment ships for the island-hopping campaign across the Pacific. She was undergoing overhaul in the US in October, 1944, and missed the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but provided fire support for later operations in the Philippines, as well as off Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the end of hostilities, San Francisco worked with the forces overseeing surrender and minesweeping operations in China and Korea. She returned to the US in December, 1945, and decommissioned February, 1946. She joined the reserve fleet until 1959, and was scrapped in 1961.