USS Miami (CL-89)

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USS Miami
Career
Name: USS Miami
Builder: Cramp Shipbuilding Co.
Laid down: 2 August 1941
Launched: 8 December 1942
Commissioned: 28 December 1943
Decommissioned: 30 June 1947
Struck: 1 September 1961
Fate: Scrapped, 1962
General characteristics
Class & type: Cleveland-class cruiser
Displacement: 10,000 long tons (10,160 t)
Length: 610 ft 1 in (185.95 m)
Beam: 66 ft 6 in (20.27 m)
Draft: 20 ft (6.1 m)
Propulsion: Geared turbines, 4 screws, 100,000 shp (74,570 kW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Complement: 992 officers and enlisted
Armament: • 12 × 6 in (150 mm) guns
• 12 × 5 in (130 mm) guns
• 28 × 40 mm guns
• 10 × 20 mm guns
Service record
Operations: World War II
Awards: 6 battle stars

USS Miami (CL-89) was one of 26 United States Navy Cleveland-class light cruisers completed during or shortly after World War II. The ship, the second US Navy ship to bear the name, was named for the city of Miami, Florida. Miami was commissioned in December 1943, and saw service in several campaigns in the Pacific. Like almost all her sister ships, she was decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and never saw active service again. Miami was scrapped in the early 1960s.

Construction[edit]

Miami was laid down 2 August 1941 by Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, Pa., and launched 8 December 1942, sponsored by Mrs. C. H. Reeder, wife of the mayor of Miami, Fla. She was commissioned 28 December 1943, Captain John G. Crawford in command.

Service history[edit]

Marianas campaign, June–October 1944[edit]

After shakedown in the Caribbean and training along the Atlantic coast, the new light cruiser, accompanied by her sister-ships Vincennes and Houston, departed Boston on 16 April 1944 for the Pacific, via the Panama Canal and San Diego, reaching Pearl Harbor on 6 May. Miami joined the Fast Carrier Task Force for air strikes in June against Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Guam, Pagan, and the Bonin Islands in support of the Marianas campaign.

During July, Miami operated west of the Marianas with the carriers as they gave close air support to ground forces struggling to take the islands. Early in August she supported raids on Iwo Jima and Haha Jima in the Bonins before steaming to Eniwetok for upkeep. Her carriers hit Peleliu and Angaur in the Palaus, 7 September, and bombed targets in the Philippines from the 12th through the 15th. During these strikes her scout planes on four occasions rescued American pilots who had been shot down in enemy waters. The cruiser continued to support strikes against the Palaus and the Philippines until returning to Saipan on the 29th for replenishment.

Miami departed Ulithi for strikes on Okinawa on 10–14 October. While her task group was under air attack on the night of 12/13 October, Miami's guns brought down their first enemy plane and assisted in splashing another. Planes from her carriers hit targets on Luzon on 18 October.

Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944[edit]

The tempo of the Pacific war was now rising rapidly. On 20 October, the 7th Fleet landed General MacArthur on the shores of Leyte, fulfilling his pledge to the Philippines: "I shall return." Realizing the decisive strategic importance of the Philippines Archipelago, Japan mustered all her force for a major counter-offensive to turn back the invasion. Her still formidable navy converged on Leyte Gulf from three directions: a northern force steamed above Luzon to lure the 3rd Fleet north and out of the action, a center force debouched through San Bernardino Strait and followed the coast of Samar toward Leyte, and a southern force emerged through Surigao Strait to trap and destroy the amphibious ships in the gulf.

The American Navy parried these thrusts in four historic actions collectively known as the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Operating with Rear Admiral Gerald F. Bogan's Carrier task group, Miami protected Intrepid, Hancock, Bunker Hill, Cabot, and Independence during the titanic struggle. Planes from the flattops located and heavily attacked the Japanese center force in the Sibuyan Sea on 24 October, sinking Musashi and so badly damaging Myōkō that she was forced to retire from action. The whole Japanese center force turned back to regroup, leading Admiral Halsey to conclude that they were retiring for good.

When word of the northern force off Luzon arrived that afternoon, Halsey ordered the carriers to speed north to attack. Miami accompanied them at flank speed as the flattops sank four Japanese carriers and several supporting ships. When Halsey learned that the center force had again reversed course and had steamed through San Bernardino Strait to threaten the American amphibious ships off the beachhead at Leyte, he ordered Bogan's group south to the rescue. However, the Japanese Goliaths of the center force were stopped and turned back by a handful of American Davids: three destroyers, four destroyer escorts, and six escort carriers. Nevertheless, Miami and her consorts managed to catch the Japanese destroyer Nowaki off the entrance to San Bernardino Strait. With the guns of the other cruisers and destroyers, Miami's six-inch guns sank her.

Operations, 1944–45[edit]

After participating in carrier strikes on the Philippines during November, Miami encountered a typhoon while operating east of Luzon on 18 December. During the morning one of the ship's aircraft was carried away, and in the afternoon her hull was damaged by buckling. As the storm abated the next day, she searched for survivors of damaged and lost ships.

On January 1945, the ship operated in air strikes on Formosa, Luzon, French Indochina, South China Coast, Hainan, and Hong Kong. She transited Balintang Channel, Luzon Straits, on 20 January 1945, and the next day, while engaged in an air strike against Formosa, Miami sighted a Mitsubishi A6M Zero type enemy plane above the formation and shot it down. On 1 February the ship steamed close to Japan for air strikes against targets in the Tokyo area. In mid-March, Miami began operating east of Okinawa, and continued in that area, encountering frequent enemy air opposition, until late in April.

Leaving Ulithi on 10 May 1945, touching Pearl Harbor on the 17th, Miami proceeded to the United States for overhaul, arriving San Francisco on 24 May, where she remained until after the cessation of hostilities, returning to Pearl Harbor on 25 August. In September and October Miami operated in the Ryūkyūs accepting the surrender of the small islands north of Okinawa. After a brief visit to Yokosuka, Japan, she steamed to the Carolines and arrived at Truk on 11 November to conduct a survey of bombing damage to the famous naval base there.

Post-war operations, 1945–47[edit]

Ordered home on 25 November, Miami arrived at Long Beach on 10 December. She operated on the California coast training naval reservists until decommissioning on 30 June 1947 and entering the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Miami's name was struck from the Navy list on 1 September 1961 and her hulk was sold for scrapping to Nicholai Joffe Corp., Beverly Hills, Calif., on 26 July 1962.

Awards[edit]

Miami received six battle stars for World War II service.

References[edit]