USS Boston (CA-69)

USS Boston (CA-69/ CAG-1) was a Baltimore class heavy cruiser that escorted the American fast carriers in the Pacific in 1944-45, took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the last raids on the Japanese Home Islands. In the 1950s she was converted into a Guided Missile Cruiser (CAG-1) and served in that role from 1955 to 1970, serving off Vietnam as a shore bombardment ship. Boston received ten battle stars for her World War II service.

The Boston was launched in August 1942 and commissioned on 30 June 1943. After a brief shakedown cruiser she was allocated to the Pacific Fleet, and in January 1944 she was assigned to Task Force 58, the fast carrier force. For most of 1944-45 she provided part of the anti-aircraft screen for the fast carriers as they carried out a series of devastating raids on Japanese positions around the Pacific.

USS Boston (CA-69), 1943
USS Boston (CA-69), 1943

This started with a series of raids on the Marshall Islands designed to support the invasions of Kwajalein, Majuro and Eniwetok (31 January-28 February 1944). The Palau and Western Caroline Islands were the target on 30 March-1 April. The force then moved south to support the landings at Hollandia on New Guinea (21-24 April 1944). On the way back to their normal operating grounds the carriers hit Truk, and the Bostontook part in a shore bombardment of Satawan Island (29 April-1 May 1944). In May she escorted the carriers as they raided Marcus and Wake Islands. June saw operations in the Marshall Islands in support of the invasion of Saipan and the first of a series of attacks on the Bonin Islands (15-16 June, 24-26 June, 3-4 July). She was also part of the carrier screen during the Battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June 1944), which saw the destruction of much of the Japanese naval aviation service.

USS Canberra (CAG-2) and USS Boston (CAG-1) at Norfolk, 1958
USS Canberra (CAG-2)
and USS Boston (CAG-1)
at Norfolk, 1958

In August 1944 the Boston was with TG38.1 during the invasion of Guam. September saw the landings on Morotai and the start of the campaign in the Palau Islands. The Philippines were raided on 9-24 September. October saw raids on Okinawa (10 October), northern Luzon and Formosa (11-14 October) and Luzon against (24-26 October). The Boston was part of TG38.1 during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but again performed the role of carrier escort.

November 1944 saw raids on Luzon (13th-14th and 19th-20th). Luzon was also one of the targets in January 1945, as were Formosa, the Chinese coast and Nansei Shoto. In February 1945 she supported the carriers during a raid on Honshu (15-16 February), and took part in a shore bombardment of the Home Islands. 

On 1 March the Boston departed for the United States for an overhaul. She rejoined the fleet in the Pacific in time to take part in the final raids on the Japanese Home Islands (20 July-15 August), and once again bombarded Japanese targets on 9 August, hitting Kamaishi on Honshu.

After the end of the fighting the Boston remained in the Far East until February 1946. After her return to the United States she was decommissioned on 29 October 1946.

In 1952 work began on converted the Boston into a guided missile cruiser (CAG-1). This saw her rear 8in turret replaced with anti-aircraft missiles (SAM-N-7/ RIM-2 Terrier Missiles). She was recommissioned on 1 November 1955. After exercises off the US East coast in 1955-56 she was posted to Cruiser Division Six, spending time with the US 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean and with the Atlantic Fleet.

The Boston also saw combat during the Vietnamese War, providing fire support for troops fighting near the coast. She joined Naval Gunfire Support Task Unit 77.8.9 in 1967, the first of three tours of duty off Vietnam (April-October 1968 and May-November 1969)

USS Boston (CAG-1) during Operation Sea Dragon, 1968
USS Boston (CAG-1) during Operation Sea Dragon, 1968

After her third tour of duty off Vietnam the decision was made to decommission the Boston. She was decommissioned on5 May 1970, struck off the Navy List in 1973 and sold for scrap in 1975.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt


 - armour deck


 - barbettes


 - turrets

8in face
3in roof
2-3.75in sides
1.5 rear

 - conning tower

3in roof

 - underwater magazines

3in side
2.5in deck


673ft 5in oa


Nine 8in guns (three triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Forty eight 40mm guns (11x4, 2x2)
Twenty four 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement


Laid down

31 June 1941


26 August 1942


30 June 1943


4 January 1974

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 January 2015), USS Boston (CA-69) ,

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