USS Columbus (CG-12)


USS Columbus (CG-12) 1974

From the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships," (1963) Vol. 2, p.150.

Displacement: 13,600 t. Length: 674'11" Beam: 70'10" Draft: 26'5" Speed: 32.6 k. Complement: 1,902 Armament: 9 8"; 12 5" Class: BALTIMORE

The third COLUMBUS (CA-74) was launched 30 November 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass.; sponsored by Mrs. E. G. Meyers; and commissioned 8 June 1945, Captain A. Hobbs in command. Joining the Pacific Fleet, COLUMBUS reached Tsingtao China, 13 January 1946 for occupation duty. On 1 April, she helped to sink 24 Japanese submarines, prizes of war, and next day sailed for San Pedro, Calif. For the remainder of the year, she operated in west coast waters, then made a second Far Eastern cruise from 15 January to 12 June 1947. After west coast operations and an overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, COLUMBUS cleared Bremerton 12 April 1948 to join the Atlantic Fleet, arriving at Norfolk, Va., 19 May. COLUMBUS made two cruises as flagship of Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, from 13 September 1948 to 15 December 1949 and from 12 June 1950 to 5 October 1951, and one as flagship of Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, during parts of NATO Operation "Mainbrace" from 25 August to 29 September 1952. She cruised in the Mediterranean from October 1952 through January 1953, serving part of that time as flagship of the 6th Fleet. Now flagship of Cruiser Division 6, she returned to the Mediterranean from September 1954 to January 1955. Between deployments, COLUMBUS received necessary overhauls and carried out training operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean. Reassigned to the Pacific Fleet, COLUMBUS cleared Boston 8 November 1955 for Long Beach, Calif., where she arrived 2 December. Just a month later, on 5 January 1956, she sailed for Yokosuka, Japan, and operated with the 7th Fleet until she returned to Long Beach 8 July.

COLUMBUS made two more cruises to the Far East in 1957 and 1958. During the late summer of 1958, her presence was a reminder of American strength and interest as she patrolled the Taiwan Straits during the crisis brought on by the renewed shelling of the offshore islands by the Chinese Communists. On 8 May 1959, COLUMBUS went out of commission at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to begin her conversion to a guided missile cruiser, and she was reclassified CG-12, 30 September 1959.

Recommissioned as CG-12 on 1 December 1962, she was the second of a class of three guided missile cruisers that included ALBANY (CG-10) and CHICAGO (CG-11). The three had Talos fore and aft and Tartar port and starboard of the bridge superstructure. Asroc amidships completed the missile suite, while six anti-submarine torpedo tubes were added in 1968. Two open 5-inch/38 guns were added later at the insistence of President Kennedy after he witnessed a Terrier missile (from another ship) fail to down an aerial target drone. All but COLUMBUS were modernized in 1970 and it was this that lead to her being the first of the class to be laid up.

Decommissioned on 31 January 1975, she was stricken on 9 August 1976, sold on 3 October 1977 and broken up. "Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1947-1995," .578. K. Jack Bauer and Stephen S. Roberts, "Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990," p.155. "Jane's Fighting Ships, 1975-76," p.444.

Transcribed by Michael Hansen