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USS Newport News (CA 148)

- decommissioned -

USS NEWPORT NEWS - the last heavy cruiser built for the US Navy - was one of the DES MOINES - class heavy cruisers and the second ship in the Navy named after the city in Virginia. Decommissioned on June 6, 1975, the NEWPORT NEWS spent the following years laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Penn. Stricken from the Navy list on July 31, 1978, the heavy cruiser was sold for scrapping on February 25, 1993.

General Characteristics:Awarded: 1943
Keel laid: November 1, 1945
Launched: March 6, 1948
Commissioned: January 29, 1949
Decommissioned: June 27, 1975
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va.
Propulsion system: geared turbines; 120,000 shaft horsepower
Propellers: four
Length: 716.5 feet (218.4 meters)
Beam: 75.5 feet (23 meters)
Draft: 26 feet (7.9 meters)
Displacement: approx. 20,450 tons full load
Speed: 33 knots
Aircraft: none, helicopter landing platform only
Final Armament: nine 8-inch (20.3cm)/55 caliber guns from three triple mounts, twelve 5-inch (12.7cm)/38 caliber guns from six twin mounts
Crew (including staff): 103 officers and 1565 enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS NEWPORT NEWS. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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Accidents aboard USS NEWPORT NEWS:

October 1, 1972off VietnamUSS NEWPORT NEWS suffers an explosion in her 8-inch gun turret B while engaged in naval gunfire support operations. The explosion heavily damages the gun mount, kills 19 sailors and injures 10. The turret remained unrepaired for the rest of the cruiser's service life.

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USS NEWPORT NEWS, a heavy cruiser, was laid down 1 November 1945; launched on 6 March 1948 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia; sponsored by Mrs. Homer T. Ferguson; commissioned 29 January 1949, Captain Roland N. Smoot commanding.

In addition to annual deployments to the Mediterranean from 1950 to 1961 for duty with the Sixth Fleet, she participated in major fleet exercises and midshipman training cruises in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. In early September 1957, NEWPORT NEWS was on station in the Eastern Mediterranean in preparation for any contingency during the Syrian crisis. In March 1960, while steaming 75 miles northeast of Sicily, NEWPORT NEWS was ordered to proceed to Agadir, Morocco, to render assistance to the survivors of that earthquake shattered city. She steamed 1,225 miles in 40.5 hours at an average speed of 31 knots, arriving on 3 March to provide medical and material aid. With the assassination of General Trujillo and the resulting instability in Santo Domingo, NEWPORT NEWS was underway on short notice on 4 June 1961, and proceeded to a station in international waters off the Dominican Republic to await further orders. When the crisis terminated, the ship returned to Norfolk after conducting training exercises off Puerto Rico.

NEWPORT NEWS’ berthing and communications facilities were modified in the winter of 1962 to accomodate Commander Second Fleet and his staff. In August 1962, she participated in NATO Exercise RIPTIDE III, and upon the end of the exercise, made a month long tour of Northern European ports as flagship of ComStrikFltLant, the NATO role of Commander Second Fleet.

Within a month after return to Norfolk, NEWPORT NEWS was underway on 22 October along with other units of the Atlantic Fleet for the Cuban Quarantine. For the next month, acting as flagship for ComSecondFlt, NEWPORT NEWS was on station northeast of Cuba. When the Soviet MRBM’s were dismantled and removed from Cuba, she assisted in the missile count. Upon cancellation of the quarantine, NEWPORT NEWS returned to her homeport of Norfolk the day before Thanksgiving.

Operations from 1963 through 1967 consisted primarily of NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, gunnery and amphibious exercises off the Eastern seaboard and Caribbean, and midshipman cruises. When the Dominican Republic crisis of 1965 developed, NEWPORT NEWS sortied from Norfolk on 29 April for Santo Domingo, where she was flagship for Commander Joint Task Force 122. NEWPORT NEWS remained on station off Santo Domingo until 7 May 1965 when JTF 122 was dissolved, and command was shifted to the Army ashore in the Dominican Republic. She returned to Norfolk, where in June alterations were made to increase her combat capabilities.

On 1 September 1967, Commander Second Fleet shifted his flag to SPRINGFIELD (CLG 7), and NEWPORT NEWS departed Norfolk 5 September for a six month deployment to South East Asia. Arriving Da Nang, South Vietnam, on the morning of 9 October, she became the flagship of ComCruDesFlot 3. That night, at 2300, she fired her eight inch guns for the first time in anger against shore targets in North Vietnam as part of “operation Sea Dragon”. For years her powerful guns had served as a major force to keep the peace. Now her strength served well in war during the following months in providing interdiction fire north of the Demilitarized Zone and naval gunfire support for American allied troops in South Vietnam. The cruiser departed Subic Bay 21 April and arrived at her homeport of Norfolk 13 May 1968, via the Panama Canal.

From January to June 1970, NEWPORT NEWS was overhauled at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and after completion of the yard period embarked Commander 3rd Fleet. The remainder of the year was spent with local operation off the US East Coast. She remained so occupied until September 1971 when the cruiser headed for northern Europe. Good will visits were conducted to Portsmouth, Uk; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Rosyth, Uk; Copenhagen, Denmark; Helsinki, Finland; and Hamburg, West Germany. NEWPORT NEWS returned to Norfolk 31 October 1971.

The first two months of 1972 were spent with WestLant Operations before departing for the Far East via Venezuela, Columbia and the Panama Canal. In late April, NEWPORT NEWS arrived at Pearl Harbor for a short enroute stop before shifting to the 7th Fleet in early May. After port visits to Guam and Subic Bay, the NEWPORT NEWS arrived off the Vietnam coast and engaged in naval gunfire support operations. It was during such a mission that the cruiser suffered an explosion in turret B on 1 October. The caused the turret to be retired. It remained unrepaired for the rest of the cruiser's service life.

The Far East cruise was terminated when NEWPORT NEWS left Subic Bay 2 December 1972. She arrived at Norfolk 24 December, just in time for Christmas.

The first half of 1973 was again spent with training and operations off the US East Coast. In mid-July, NEWPORT NEWS underwent a 3-week drydock period at Baltimore. At sea again in mid-August, NEWPORT NEWS departed for another northern Europe tour 18 September. Visiting the ports of Portsmouth; Oslo, Norway; Copenhagen; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Lisbon, Portugal; the cruiser returned to Norfolk 8 November.

Routine operations continued until September 1974, when NEWPORT NEWS was again underway in northern Europe. She visited the already familiar ports of Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Portsmouth, and Lisbon before returning home to Norfolk 30 October 1974.

NEWPORT NEWS was decommissioned at her homeport of Norfolk on 27 June 1975. Subsequently laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the cruiser was sold for scrapping 25 February 1993.

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