Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  USS San Francisco (CA-38)
New Orleans Class
Heavy Cruiser

9,950 Tons
588' x 61' 9" x 19' 5"
9 x (3 x 3) 8" guns
8 x 5" AA guns
2 x 3 pounder 47mm guns
6 x quad 40mm Bofors guns
26 x 20mm AA guns
1 x aircraft catapult

Ship History
Built by Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, California. Laid down September 9, 1931. Launched March 9, 1933. Commissioned February 10, 1934 as USS San Francisco (CA-38).

On October 11, 1941 San Francisco entered the Pearl Harbor for overhaul that was scheduled to be completed by December 25, 1941. By early December 1941, she was awaiting docking and the cleaning of her fouled bottom. Her engineering plant was largely broken down for overhaul. Ammunition for her 5" guns and 8" guns were in storage and her 3" guns were removed for the installation of quad mounted 1.1" guns. Her .50 caliber machine guns were being overhauled, leaving only two .30 caliber machine guns and small arms available for defense.

Wartime History
On December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor the crew of San Francisco secured the ship for watertight integrety. Some of her crew moved to USS New Orleans (CA-32) to man her anti-aircraft guns while others transfered their .50 caliber ammunition to USS Tracy (DD-214). During the attacks, San Francisco was not bombed or damaged. Afterwards, her overhaul was rushed to completion and her keel cleaning postponed. She left the overhaul yard on December 14, 1941.

On December 16, 1941 departs Pearl Harbor with Task Force 14 (TF 14) bound for Wake Island until it fell to the Japanes and instead diverted to Midway Atoll to land reinforcements. On December 29, 1941 returned to Pearl Harbor.


On November 12, 1942 at the start of the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal Japanese bombers escorted by fighters attacked attack U.S. warships and transports in Iron Bottom Sound off the north coast of Guadalcanal. At 2:16pm a G4M1 Betty released a torpedo that missed San Francisco. Hit by anti-aircraft fire, the same Betty deliberately crashed into the after control station that killing 30 men including the executive officer, Commander Mark H. Crouter, O-055937. Also Seaman 2nd Class Frank O. Slater, 6042657 (KIA) who later earned the Navy Cross. This was the only damage inflicted on the American vessels by the Japanese bombers. Also damaged was USS Buchanan (DD-484) that was accidentally hit by friendly gunfire that killed five aboard and forced it to be withdrawn for repairs.


For her World War II service, San Francisco earned 17 battle stars during World War II making her the 3rd most decorated USN ship in World War II.

On August 28 1945 departed Subic Bay for China as part of a show of force in the Yellow Sea and Gulf of Pohai areas and to cover minesweeping operations. On October 8, 1945 anchored at Inchon, Korea. During October 13–16, 1945 she participated in another show of force operation in the Gulf of Pohai area, then returned to Inchon, where Rear Admiral Jerauld Wright, Commander, CruDiv 6, acted as senior member of the committee to accept the surrender of Japanese Naval forces in Korea.

On November 27, 1945, San Francisco departed for San Francisco arriving in the middle of December 1945 then continued on to the east coast on January 5, 1946, and arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for inactivation on January 19, 1946. Decommissioned on February 10, 1946 and berthed with the Philadelphia Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until March 1, 1959, when struck from the Naval Vessel Register.

On September 9, 1959 sold to the Union Mineral and Alloys Corp. in New York and moved to Panama City, Florida. During 1961, scrapped at Panama City, Florida in May 1961.

The crew members killed on November 12-13, 1942 were buried at sea and are memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Mark H. Crouter
FindAGrave - Cdr Mark H Crouter (photos)
FindAGrave - Mark H Crouter (memorial marker photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Frank Olga Slater
FindAGrave - S2 Frank Olga Slater (photos tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - SMN Frank O. Slater (photo, memorial marker photo)

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
August 4, 2020


  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram