Home Intro People Events Equipment Places Maps Books Photos Videos Other Reference FAQ About

World War II Database

Detroit file photo [1245]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassOmaha-class Light Cruiser
BuilderBethlehem Fore River Shipyard
Launched29 Jun 1922
Commissioned31 Jul 1923
Decommissioned11 Jan 1946
Displacement7,050 tons standard
Length555 feet
Beam55 feet
Draft13 feet
MachineryGeared turbines with four screws
Speed34 knots
Armament10x6in guns, 6x3in guns, 2x3x21in torpedo tubes
Armor3in belt, 1.5in deck, 1.5in cunning tower
Sold for Scrap27 Feb 1946


ww2dbaseLight cruiser Detroit was launched in 1922, sponsored by daughter of Detroit mayor James J. Couzens. In 1923, she was commissioned to Captain J. Halligan, Jr. After shakedown to the Mediterranean Sea, she joined the United States Navy Scouting Fleet. In Sep and Oct 1924, she was on lifeguard duty for the United States Army's round-the-world flight. Between Oct and 23 Nov, she was the flagship of Light Cruiser Divisions. Between Feb and Jun 1925, she served on the west coast of the United States and in the waters near Hawaii. On 10 Jul, she sailed to Boston, Massachusetts, United States and joined the Scouting Fleet again. Between Jul 1925 and Dec 1926, she was the flagship of Light Cruiser Division 3, and participated in fleet problems along the east coast of the United States and in teh Caribbean Sea. Between Mar and Apr 1927, she patrolled off the coast of Nicaragua to protect American interests during political disturbances in that country. On 16 Jun 1927, she departed from Boston as she became the flagship for US naval forces in Europe, visiting various ports in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East; in this role, she hosted dignitaries such as the King of Norway, King of Denmark, King of Spain, and the President of the Irish Free State and transported the US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg between Ireland and France. On 12 Sep 1928, she entered the port at Norfolk, Virginia, United States and joined the Scouting Fleet. She was the flagship of Light Cruiser Divisions between 6 Jul 1929 and 29 Sep 1930. On 19 March 1931, she was the flagship of Destroyer Squadrons of the US Navy Battle Force based in San Diego, California, United States; with the exception of a fleet problem in 1934 in the Atlantic Ocean, she remained in the Pacific Ocean for the remainder of the 1930s, serving along the west coast of the US and in Alaskan and Hawaiian waters.

ww2dbaseIn 1941, Detroit's home port was moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On 7 Dec 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, she was moored with light cruiser Raleigh and target ship Utah, which received most of the damage out of the three ships. She was able to get underway and fire her anti-aircraft guns; her captain claimed credit for at least one kill. She patrolled waters near the island of Oahu immediately after the attack, and then sailed with other ships to hunt for the retiring Japanese carrier force, returning to Pearl Harbor on 10 Dec.

ww2dbaseIn 1942, Detroit largely served as an escort for convoys between Hawaii and the west coast of the US. On 3 Mar 1942, at Pearl Harbor, she received from submarine Trout 9 tons of gold and 13 tons of silver belonging to twelve Filipino banks; she delivered the cargo to the US Treasury Department in San Francisco, California. In Sep 1942, she escorted two convoys to Pago Pago, Samoa, rescuing the crew of a downed PBY Catalina aircraft during one passage. On Nov 1942, she became the flagship of Task Group 8.6 in Alaska. On 12 Jan 1943, she covered landings on Amchitka island in the Aleutian Islands. In Apr, she bombarded Holtz Bay and Chicago Harbor at Attu, returning in May to cover the invasion of that island. In Aug, under the command of Captain H. G. Sickel, she bombarded Kiska and covered the landing on that island on 15 Aug. She remained in Alaskan waters until 1944. In Jun 1944, with Task Force 94, she bombarded Japanese facilities in the Kurile Islands. In Jul 1944, she received repairs at Bremerton, Washington, United States. On 9 Aug, she became the flagship of the Southeast Pacific Force and patrolled off of the west coast of South American until the end of that year. On 4 Feb 1945, she arrived at Ulithi in the Caroline Islands and joined the 5th Fleet as the flagship of the replenishment group for the fast carrier task forces, remaining in that role until the end of the war. On 1 Sep, she entered Tokyo Bay, Japan, and was present at the surrender ceremony on the next day. She remained in Japanese waters to support the occupation fleet while made several trips to bring Japanese personnel home from various Pacific islands. She left Japan on 15 Oct with American servicemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet.

ww2dbaseDetroit was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States in 1946. She was sold for scrap on 27 Feb.

ww2dbaseSource: US Navy Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2008

Light Cruiser Detroit Interactive Map


Japanese aerial photograph of the overturned USS Utah, sunk by torpedoes in the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 Dec 1941. Cruisers Detroit and Raleigh can be seen at left and USS Tangier at right.Plan view of Detroit
See all 7 photographs of Light Cruiser Detroit

Detroit Operational Timeline

31 Jul 1923 Detroit was commissioned into service.
11 Jan 1946 Detroit was decommissioned from service.

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Bob Strange says:
27 Mar 2010 07:49:13 AM

Atempting to do some research on the fire control system that was used for the AA battery on the Omaha Class, particularly the MARBLEHEAD at the commencement of WWII. Any information or reference material would be of immense help
2. spc.dusty phelps says:
2 Apr 2011 07:12:01 PM

thank you for this postig. my grandfather served on the uss detroit and has just passed. his name is peter bisacca,he was shooting zeros in perl,do you have a crew manifest? thank you,spc.phelps ft.lewis
3. Peter Anthony Bisacca says:
28 Apr 2011 11:49:59 AM

Spc. Phelps we must be related...just found out last weekend that grandpa passed away..his son's Dominick and Jimmy served in the Navy as well...as well did I. I will miss him.
4. Fred Ozga says:
20 Mar 2012 09:14:26 AM

Ahoy sir,
You might want to check this out. I recently found an original Christmas Gala dinner menu from the USS Detroit dated 1937. This is an historic treasure. It is two-sided. One side is a menu in beautiful color. Th other side contains the ship roster of officers, crew and enlisted men.This looks like around 400+ service men that by now would be someone's father, grandfather or great-grandfather. This document is in perfect condition and was scanned as a .tif file. I am sure this document would be appreciated by the surviving families. I would be happy to email you a copy....Fred Ozga - Son of Joseph Ozga (Seaman First Class 1935-1940)
5. john mcgovern says:
11 Apr 2012 06:41:57 AM

my uncle was on the Detroit..he went MIA while on a recon flight on the ships kingfisher seaplane in early 1942...his name was John McGovern...the pilot of the plane was named Shropshire....any further info would be welcomed....
6. Jeff Dankert says:
7 Dec 2012 08:37:54 PM

My uncle served on USS Detroit 1941-42, during PH attack, based on muster rolls I have found. Willard F. Dankert, from Iowa, GM3c in 1942.
7. Susanne Stoner Hellman says:
1 May 2016 08:04:06 AM

For John McGovern: William Bryan Shropshire was my great uncle. The plane went down June 27th, 1942. The Navy officially declared him deceased a year and a day later, on June 28th, 1943. A second hand account from one of their shipmates describes what happened. Here is the link (page 59) http://www.sdsualumni.org/s/997/images/editor_documents/Chapters/veterans2015.pdf
I hope this find you.
8. Ray Schneider says:
26 Oct 2016 02:44:50 PM

My dad was Ensign Ray Schneider, ordnance officer on Detroit on the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. He participated in the defense of the ship getting the anti-aircraft guns firing although they didn't have fuses for them.
9. Anonymous says:
9 Jun 2017 10:16:45 PM

Interested in enlisted personnel attached to staff command on Dec. 7 1941.
10. Robert Burke says:
7 Dec 2021 04:44:16 PM

Would like to know more about my uncle Jack Burke.
His service during the attack on Pearl Harbour

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments


1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Change View
Desktop View

Search WW2DB
More on Detroit
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Aleutian Islands Campaign
» Typhoon Connie
» Japan's Surrender

» US Navy Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, Enclosure E, USS Detroit

Light Cruiser Detroit Photo Gallery
Japanese aerial photograph of the overturned USS Utah, sunk by torpedoes in the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7 Dec 1941. Cruisers Detroit and Raleigh can be seen at left and USS Tangier at right.Plan view of Detroit
See all 7 photographs of Light Cruiser Detroit

Famous WW2 Quote
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."

James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!