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610' 1" x 66' 6" x 20'
12 x 6" guns
12 x 5" guns
Built by New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, NJ. On 1 November 1941 Hull No. 423 was launched and commissioned June 15, 1942 with Captain E. W. Burrough in command.
Clearing Norfolk's Chesapeake Bay October 10, 1942 Cleveland joined a task force off Bermuda on October 29, 1942 bound for the invasion of North Africa, the first new class of ship to enter World War II. Her firepower supported the landings at Fedhala, French Morocco, on 8 November and she remained on patrol until November 12, 1942 and returning to Norfolk November 24, 1942.
Cleveland sailed for the Pacific 5 December 1942, and arrived at Efate 16 January. Her first mission was with TF 18 to guard a troop convoy to Guadalcanal from January 27-31, Cleveland fired on the enemy as she came under heavy air attack in the battle of Rennell Island on the 29th and 30th.
Joining Task Force 68, Cleveland steamed up "the Slot" 6 March 1943 to bombard Japanese airfields at Vila Airfield on Kolombangara, then joined in the night action which sank two Japanese destroyers (the Minegumo and Murasame) in the battle of Blackett Strait.
In June, Command of the Cleveland passed to Captain Andrew G. Shepard. June 16, SON-1 Seagull 1184 was lost, crew rescued.
On July 12, 1943 provided bombardment support for the Allied landing at Munda. Following a short repair period at Sydney, Australia, Cleveland sailed for the preinvasion bombardment of the Treasury Islands on 26 October and 27 October.
On November 1, 1943 her task force steamed to blast Buka and Bonis in support of the Allied landing at Torokina on Bougainville. That same day, dashed south the same day to again bombard Ballale and Shortlands. That night intercepted a Japanese force in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay. Cleveland poured her radar-controlled fire into the four Japanese cruisers for over an hour, aiding in sinking Sendai, then chased the fleeing ships until daybreak. An air attack followed and one stick of bombs severely rocked Cleveland, who splashing several of the enemy planes. For the battle, Cleveland won the Navy Unit Commendation. Afterwards, she returned to Buka for another bombardment on December 23, 1943 then patrolled between Truk and Green Island from February 13-18, 1944 while American forces captured the latter.
After supporting the capture of Emirau from March 17-23 1944, Cleveland sailed for replenishment and repairs at Sydney. Afterwards, returned to the Solomons April 21 to prepare for the operation in the Marianas. One practice bombardment on May 20 brought return fire unexpectedly which straddled the ship, but unharmed, she quickly silenced the shore batteries.
From June 8 to August 12, Cleveland participated in the Marianas operations. On July 24, 1944 during the invasion of Tinian the USS Cleveland came to the aid of the USS Norman Scott (DD-690) that was hit six times within a few seconds by shore batteries. The Cleveland maneuvered between the Norman Scott and the shore batteries, preventing the Norman Scott from taking any more hits. She conducted softening-up bombardments and then gave fire support for invading troops until she joined TF 58 for the battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19-20. Although few enemy aircraft penetrated the screen of American carrier planes, Cleveland was credited with splashing at least one enemy aircraft and assisting in downing another of the few which did get through.
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