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San Francisco file photo [1764]

San Francisco

CountryUnited States
Ship ClassNew Orleans-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderMare Island Navy Yard


ww2dbaseSan Francisco had her shakedown cruise from Hawaii to Canada then Panama. For the next four years she served on the west coast of the United States before sailing to the Caribbean for Fleet Problem XX. When Germany invaded Poland in Sep 1939, she made patrols in western Atlantic and Caribbean. She returned to Pearl Harbor for overhaul, where she was present during the Japanese attack on 7 Dec 1941, providing limited anti-aircraft support. After participating in the abortive mission to relieve Wake, she set sail for South Pacific to raid Japanese bases. She supported the American invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in Aug 1942 and remained in the theater where she participated in the Battle of Cape Esperance and the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. During the latter battle she was severely damaged by gunfire and required extensive repairs. After some time in the shipyard, she took part in the recovery of Attu and Kiska in mid-1943, then raided Wake and the Marshalls while participating in the capture of Gilbert Islands in the last few months of 1943. In early 1944 she supported the invasion of the Marshalls. She continued to support the American effort to fight across central and western Pacific toward Japan.

ww2dbaseAfter the end of the war, San Francisco operated off China and Korea. She returned to the United States in Dec 1945 and was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Feb 1946.

ww2dbaseSource: Naval Historical Center.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2006

Heavy Cruiser San Francisco Interactive Map


San Francisco off San Pedro, California, 22 Apr 1935Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, commanding officer of US Navy Cruiser Division Seven, probably on board his flagship USS San Francisco, circa 1939
See all 21 photographs of Heavy Cruiser San Francisco

San Francisco Operational Timeline

20 Feb 1942 A Japanese H6K flying boat piloted by Lieutenant (jg) Noboru Sakai spotted a US carrier force 460 miles northeast of New Britain; US pilot Jimmy Thatch of Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3) flying from USS Lexington shot down Sakai's aircraft at 1112 hours, but not before Sakai had alerted others. At 1202 hours, Burt Stanley and Leon Haynes, also of VF-3, shot down another H6K aircraft flown by Warrant Officer Kiyoshi Hayashi north of Lexington. At 1420 hours, 17 Type 1 bombers of Japanese 4th Air Group, led by Lieutenant Masayoshi Nakagawa, were launched from Rabaul, with the first wave reaching Lexington at 1625 hours. The first wave of 9 bombers were all shot down without causing any damage to Lexington (Nakagawa tried to crash into Lexington as he fell from the sky, but fell short by less than 1 mile). US Navy Lieutenant Albert Vorse of VF-3 shot down one of these bombers for his first aerial kill. The second wave attacked USS Lexington and USS Minneapolis at 1705 hours, still causing no damage; Edward "Butch" O'Hare shot down 3 and damaged 4 Japanese bombers. Only 2 Japanese bombers arrived back at Rabaul at the end of the day; 100 Japanese bomber crewmen were lost during the attacks, and Japan also lost 20 men with the H6K reconnaissance flights earlier in the morning. O'Hare was given credit for 5 kills, making him an "Ace in a Day" and leading to him being awarded the Medal of Honor. With the element of surprise lost, Lexington broke off her intended raid on Rabaul. Because of the loss of so many bombers, the Japanese delayed their plans to invade Lae, New Guinea.
25 Oct 1942 United States Navy Task Force 64 consisting of USS Washington, USS Atlanta, USS San Francisco, USS Helena, USS Lardner, USS Lansdowne, USS Buchanan, USS Fletcher, USS Walke, USS Benham, USS McCalla, USS Aaron Ward, and USS Laffey bound for Savo, Solomon Islands was joined by USS Nicholas as an additional escort. As Nicholas came alongside Washington to exchange mail, Nicholas struck Washington’s side. The battleship was undamaged but Nicholas sustained hull damage from her anchor being pressed into the ship. Nicholas was able to resume her full duties immediately, however.
5 Oct 1943 Task Force 19 consisting of Essex-class carriers Essex, Lexington, and Yorktown with light carriers Cowpens, Independence, and Belleau Wood escorted by cruisers New Orleans, San Francisco, Birmingham, Nashville, Santa Fe, and Mobile and destroyers Hull, Hazelwood, Bancroft, Caldwell, Coghlan, Braine, Halford, Kidd, Bullard, Chauncey, John Rodgers, Harrison, Murray, Ringgold, Sigsbee, Schroeder, Dashiell, Conner, Burns, Boyd, and Bradford began two days of strikes against Wake Island. So intense was the bombardment that island commander Rear Admiral Sakaibara Shigemitsu was convinced it was a prelude to an invasion and he ordered the execution of all 98 remaining POWs that had been there since 23 Dec 1941, many of whom had been civilian contractors at the time of their capture.
30 Jul 1944 Battleships USS New Mexico and USS Idaho with cruisers USS San Francisco and USS St. Louis departed Guam in the Mariana Islands bound for Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands.
2 Aug 1944 Battleships USS New Mexico and USS Idaho with cruisers USS San Francisco and USS St. Louis arrived at Eniwetok, Marshall Islands.
3 Aug 1944 Battleship USS New Mexico with cruisers USS San Francisco and USS St. Louis departed Eniwetok, Marshall Islands bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
9 Aug 1944 Battleship USS New Mexico with cruisers USS San Francisco and USS St. Louis arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
18 Dec 1944 Many ships from the United States Third Fleet, Task Force 38 sailed into Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea. Three destroyers and 790 men were lost.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
31 Mar 2009 10:43:03 AM

my grandpa served on the USS SAN FRANCISCO
2. Cindy Roll says:
9 Sep 2013 01:47:23 PM

My father served on the USS SAN FRANCISCO DURING WWII.His name was Joseph Arthur Wallace Jr, in the south pacific. Looking for his military records, born in 1922, Wayne county Missouri.
3. Mike Wallace says:
7 Aug 2014 09:32:58 AM

My father Lt John George Wallace USNA class of 1942 served on the USS San Francisco from early 1942 until 1944. During the first Naval Battle of Guadalcanal he won a Navy Cross and A Purple Heart for pulling wounded men out of the fires in the after Gun Mount.
4. Don Carner says:
7 Mar 2016 04:34:46 PM

My Dad, RM3, Robert A Carner reported aboard at Mare Island in 1943. Served aboard until 1946. Survived Typhoon COBRA, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, (Buckner Bay), Jinsen and a host of others. Dad earned 5 battle stars for his service on CA-38.
5. Linda Smith says:
23 Nov 2016 06:58:52 PM

Looking for any information about my uncle, Carl Eric Holmquist, injured on board the USS San Francisco during the Guadalcanal battle. He went by Eric. As niece, I cannot get access to his military records, and he had no children. Does anyone know if that rule can be bypassed? THX.
6. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
23 Nov 2016 07:46:37 PM

Linda Smith (above):
Chief Machinist Carl Eric Holmquist, service number 238 33 41, appears in the USS San Francisco Muster Rolls as late as Sep 1942 but there is no mention of him being treated for injuries or transferred to a Hospital ship (not unusual, Muster Rolls are not the place for information about injuries).
If you want to request his service records, go ahead. For veterans discharged before 1953, their service records are public records and can be requested by anyone. See: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records
7. Linda Smith says:
14 Jun 2019 02:45:55 PM

Thank you, David Stubblebine. I will give it a try.
8. Meaghan says:
28 Apr 2020 04:01:14 PM

My grandfather, SKC William T. Hess, from what I understand was on the USS San Francisco during Pearl Harbor. He passed away in 2002 and I am unable to find any information on his military career. My family has since dispersed and cant get any information from his children. I was gifted his metals, patches and the fllad that was given to my grandmother after his death. Just trying to fond some information that he was a part of this. Thank you.

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More on San Francisco
» Callahan, Daniel

Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Action off Bougainville
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Marshall Islands Campaign
» Typhoon Cobra
» Raid into the South China Sea
» Okinawa Campaign

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

Heavy Cruiser San Francisco Photo Gallery
San Francisco off San Pedro, California, 22 Apr 1935Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, commanding officer of US Navy Cruiser Division Seven, probably on board his flagship USS San Francisco, circa 1939
See all 21 photographs of Heavy Cruiser San Francisco

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