USS Tucson (CL-98)

USS Tucson (CL-98) was an Atlanta class light cruiser that joined the fleet just in time to take part in the last sortie against the Japanese Home Islands, and then remained in service until 1949. She earned a single battle star during the Second World War.

The Tucson was launched on 3 September 1944 and commissioned on 3 February 1945. She joined the fleet at Leyte on 16 June and jouned TF 38 as part of the anti-aircraft screen for TG 38.3 (USS Essex (CV-9), Ticonderoga (CV-14), Randolph (CV-15), Monterey (CV-26) and Bataan ( CVL-29)). This demonstrates the dramatic increase in US naval power by 1945, when a single task group within the fleet contained more US carriers than fought at Midway!

Airing the bedding, USS Tucson (CL-98), 1945
Airing the bedding,
USS Tucson (CL-98), 1945

Tucson sortied with the fleet on 1 July. On 10 July the carriers hit Tokyo. On 14-15 July they hit Hokkaido and northern Honshu. Tokyo was the target on 18-18 July. On 24 and 28 July they hit the Inland Sea. On 30 July Kobe and Nagoya were the targets.

At the start of August the fleet moved south to fuel and replenish. In the second week of August they hit northern Honshu, and on 13 August Tokyo was the target. Two days later the Japanese surrender finally ended the war.

Post-war Career

The Tucson remained in Japanese waters until 20 September, patrolling the areas east of Honshu to protect the incoming occupation forces. She then steamed to Okinawa, on her way back the United States.

Most of the wartime members of the Atlanta class were quickly decommissioned at the end of the war, but the Tucson was almost new, and she was kept for the post-war navy. On 29 September she became an anti-aircraft gunnery ship with the Pacific Fleet Training Command. By August 1946, when she was withdrawn from that duty, she had trained around 5,000 men.

During September-November 1946 she underwent an overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. She was then allocated to the Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet. In February 1947 she returned to Hawaii to take part in a fleet exercise, acting as part the defence force of the islands.

From March-July she operated off the US West Coast. She was then sent back to the Far East, and from August-October she was based in the Yellow Sea, watching the fighting in the Chinese civil war. She was back at San Diego by 6 November, and she spent 1948 operating off the US West Coast.

On 11 June 1949 the Tucson was decommissioned and placed in the San Francisco Group of the Pacific Fleet Reserve. She was struck off on 1 June 1966 but used as a test hulk until 1970. She was finally sold for scrap in 1971.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



8,500 nm @ 15kts

Armour – belt


 - bulkheads


 - armour deck


 - gunhouses


 - deck over underwater magazines



541ft 6in oa


Twelve 5in/ 38 guns (six two-gun turrets)
Sixteen 40mm guns as ordered (eight double mountings)
Sixteen or twenty four 40mm guns by war's end (four or six quad mounts)
Up to Eighteen 20mm guns
Eight 21in torpedo tubes

Crew complement


Laid down

23 December 1942


3 September 1944


3 February 1945


1 June 1966

US Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45, Mark Stille. Covers the five classes of US Navy light cruisers that saw service during the Second World War, with sections on their design, weaponry, radar, combat experience. Nicely organised, with the wartime service records separated out from the main text, so that the design history of the light cruisers flows nicely. Interesting to see how new roles had to be found for them, after other technology replaced them as reconnaissance aircraft [read full review]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 July 2015), USS Tucson (CL-98) ,

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