The USS Minneapolis (CA-36) was a New Orleans-class heavy cruiser and a sister ship of the Astoria. The Philadelphia Navy Yard built her, and the Navy commissioned her in May 1934. Her shakedown cruiser took her to Europe. In April 1935, she went through the Panama Canal to join the US Fleet. Most of her operations were in the Pacific throughout the rest of the 1930s. With war with Japan on the horizon, she moved to Pearl Harbor in 1940.
Fortunately, she was at sea near the Hawaiian Islands when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After serving with carrier task forces raiding Japanese bases during February and March 1942, she was at the Battle of the Coral Sea and Midway. She was part of Vadm. Jack Fletcher’s task force that provided air support for the Guadalcanal-Tulagi invasion on August 7. She also was at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons near the end of August. The cruiser later was with the Saratoga when a Japanese submarine torpedoed the carrier.
The Minneapolis was Radm. Carleton Wright’s flagship that led American cruisers and destroyers on November 30 at the Battle of Tassafaronga. During the fight against Japanese destroyers, some Japanese “Long Lance” torpedoes smashed into the cruiser, blew off her bow, and put a huge hole in her hull. The onrushing water flooded and nearly disabled her power plant. She limped back to Tulagi harbor where emergency repair crews frantically rigged a temporary bow on her so that she could make it to Pearl Harbor. The cruiser had to undergo more repairs at Pearl Harbor and the Mare Island Navy Yard. At the end of August 1943, she returned to active duty with the Pacific Fleet.
The Minneapolis actively participated in combat missions at the Gilberts in November 1943 and the Marshalls in January-February 1944. She was part of the invasion of Saipan, the ensuing Battle of the Philippine Sea, the capture of Guam in July and August, landings in the Palaus in September 1944, and at Leyte Gulf in October 1944. She helped make naval history by being part of the last surface battle between battleships, cruisers, and destroyers at the Battle of Surigao Strait on October 25-25, 1944.
The cruiser’s active combat duty continued into 1945 with the landings in the Lingayen Gulf and at Okinawa. After Japan’s surrender, she supported occupation forces in China and Korea. She then escorted transports that brought American servicemen home. The Navy deactivated her at Philadelphia in early 1946 and formally decommissioned her in February 1947. After spending 12 years in “mothballs,” the Navy sold her for scrap in August 1959.