Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Birmingham II (CL-62)

Birmingham is a city in Alabama.

(CL-62: dp. 10,000; l. 610'1"; b. 66'4"; dr. 25'; s. 33 k.; cpl. 1200; a. 12 6", 12 5"; cl. Cleveland)

The second Birmingham (CL-62) was launched 20 March 1942 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. C. Green, wife of the President of the Birmingham City Commission; and commissioned 29 January 1943, Captain J. Wilkes in command.

Following her shakedown cruise Birmingham was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. Departing Norfolk, Va., 2 June 1943, she steamed to the Mediterranean and gave gunfire support during the invasion of Sicily (10-26 July 1943). Returning to the United States 8 August, she was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet and arrived at Pearl Harbor 6 September 1943.

Joining the fast carrier task force screen, she took part in the raids on Tarawa (18 September 1943) and Wake Island (5-6 October). At the Solomons, she took part in the action off Empress Augusta Bay (8-9 November), during which she destroyed the Japanese plane which hit her with two bombs and a torpedo. The cruiser retired to Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs which lasted until 18 February 1944 and then rejoined the Pacific Fleet.

Assigned to TF 57, she took part in the invasion of Saipan (14 June-4 August 1944); Battle of the Philippine Sea (19-20 June); invasion of Tinian (20 July-1 August); invasion of Guam (21 July); and Philippine Islands raids (9-24 September). She then served with TF 38 during the Okinawa raid (10 October), northern Luzon and Formosa raids (15 and 18-19 October), and the Battle for Leyte Gulf (24 October). During the latter she suffered topside damage from explosions on board Princeton (CVL-23) while courageously attempting to aid that stricken vessel. Birmingham retired to Mare Island Navy Yard for repairs which lasted from November 1944 to January 1945.

Rejoining the Pacific Fleet, the cruiser supported the invasions of Iwo Jima (4-5 March 1945) and Okinawa (25 March-5 May). On 4 May, after fighting off three attacks, she was damaged for a third time when a Japanese suicide plane hit her forward. Returning to Pearl Harbor, she underwent repairs between 28 May and 1 August 1945.

Birmingham joined the 5th Fleet at Okinawa 26 August 1945 and in November steamed to Brisbane, Australia. She returned to San Francisco 22 March 1946 and went out of commission in reserve there 2 January 1947. [Birmingham was struck from the Navy list on 1 March 1959 and sold 9 November 1959.]

Birmingham received nine battle stars for her World War II service.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey