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Pensacola file photo [2475]


CountryUnited States
Ship ClassPensacola-class Heavy Cruiser
BuilderNew York Navy Yard
Laid Down27 Oct 1926
Launched25 Apr 1929
Commissioned6 Feb 1930
Decommissioned26 Aug 1946
Displacement9,100 tons standard
Length586 feet
Beam65 feet
Draft15 feet
MachineryParsons turbines, 8 boilers, 4 shafts
Power Output107,000 shaft horsepower
Speed32 knots
Range10,000nm at 15 knots
Armament10x203mm, 4x127mm


ww2dbasePensacola was the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers. In the early 1930s, she served on both coasts of the United States. During the attack on Pearl Harbor which started the Pacific War and drew the United States into WW2, she was en route between Pearl Harbor and Manila; she was diverted to Brisbane, Australia, and returned to Pearl Harbor on 19 Jan 1942. On 17 Feb 1942, she arrived off Samoa to join Task Force 11, which was centered around the carrier Lexington.

ww2dbaseOn 20 Feb 1942, Pensacola's anti-aircraft weapons helped to repel an aerial attack by 17 Japanese aircraft in two waves. On 6 Mar, carrier Yorktown joined the task force. Pensacola escorted the carriers in their offensives and patrols in the South Pacific until Apr 1942.

ww2dbaseOn 26 May 1942, Pensacola entered Pearl Harbor and joined with the carrier Enterprise. Two days later, they departed for Midway Atoll and made a rendezvous with Task Force 17 in which Pensacola participated in the Battle of Midway with. As Yorktown was attacked by Japanese aircraft, Pensacola left Enterprise to aid the carrier, but by the time she arrived Yorktown had already been disabled. While Yorktown's damage control crew worked furiously, Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support, shooting down four torpedo bombers during the second attack. After Yorktown sank, Pensacola returned to Enterprise and embarked on a chase of the Japanese forces. The Enterprise group returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 Jun.

ww2dbaseOn 22 Jun 1942, Pensacola transported 1,157 men of Marine Aircraft Group 22 to Midway, and remained in the Hawaiian chain until 7 Aug.

ww2dbaseIn Aug 1942, Pensacola sailed for the South Pacific. On 2 Oct, she departed Noumea, New Caledonia with carrier Hornet for Guadalcanal. On 24 Oct, the Hornet group joined Enterprise group, and two days later the combined force entered into the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. During the battle Pensacola provided anti-aircraft support against Japanese dive and torpedo bombers, but she was not able to prevent Hornet from receiving fatal damage. Hornet was eventually abandoned; Pensacola brought 188 survivors of the carrier to Noumea on 30 Oct. Although the price was hefty, the Americans stopped a major Japanese naval offensive.

ww2dbaseIn early Nov 1942, Pensacola guarded transports landing Marines on Guadalcanal. At Guadalcanal, she participated in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 13 Nov and the Battle of Tassafaronga on 30 Nov. In the latter action, among heavy gunfire, she was struck by two torpedoes, causing heavy damage. The torpedoes struck on the port side, flooding her engine room and ripping open the oil tanks, but she continued to fire the guns that remained functional. Despite the heavy damage, the damage control crew of Pensacola saved the ship, pulling into port at Tulagi while still aflame. 125 were killed and 68 injured at the end of the battle. After emergency repairs at Tulagi and Espiritu Santo, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on 27 Jan 1943 to receive proper repairs.

ww2dbasePensacola's next mission was not until Nov 1943 when she bombarded Betio of Tarawa Atoll with 600 shells to soften Japanese defenses before the Marine landing. For the next two months, she performed as anti-aircraft screen for carriers and supply ships. In Jan and Feb 1944, she bombarded Japanese garrisons in the Marshall Islands. Between Mar and Apr 1944, she screened carriers across the Pacific. In Jun, she was transferred to northern Pacific, attacking Japanese airfields in the Kurile Islands in late Jun 1944 and patrolled off Alaska in Jul. Returning to Central Pacific, she bombarded Wake Island on 3 Sep and Marcus Island on 9 Oct. In mid-Oct, she participated in the campaign to gain control of the Philippines, including her direct involving at the landing at Luzon on 20 Oct.

ww2dbaseIn the night of 11 to 12 Nov 1944, Pensacola bombarded Iwo Jima. On 8 Dec 1944, 5 Jan 1945, 24 Jan 1945, and 27 Jan 1945, she bombarded Japanese defenses at Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima to prepare for the landing scheduled for 19 Feb. On 16 Feb, she was involved in the three days of pre-invasion naval bombardment, receiving six hits from Japanese shore batteries in the process, killing 17 men and injuring 119 others. She remained at Iwo Jima until 3 mar.

ww2dbaseOn 25 Mar 1945, Pensacola supported the landing at Okinawa and remained there until 15 Apr. She then returned to Mare Island Navy Yard in California, United States for overhaul. She exited from the shipyard on 3 Aug, by then the war was about to end. She anchored in the Japanese port of Ominato on 8 Sep as a part of the occupation force, and performed as a Magic Carpet transport to bring American servicemen home between Nov 1945 and Jan 1946.

ww2dbasePensacola was decommissioned in 1946 after being used as the target of an atomic test. She was sunk on 10 Nov 1948.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Nov 2006

Heavy Cruiser Pensacola Interactive Map


Pensacola at anchor, during the 1930sSeven cruisers at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 2 Feb 1933. Clockwise from left are Augusta, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Louisville, Pensacola, unidentified destroyer, Fox, Kane (on marine railway), Northampton, and Chester.
See all 17 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Pensacola


United States Navy Track Chart Battle of Tassafaronga, 30 Nov 1942. Chart created in 1946.

Pensacola Operational Timeline

6 Feb 1930 Pensacola was commissioned into service.
19 Jan 1942 USS Pensacola arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
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.
28 May 1942 USS Enterprise and Task Force 16 departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for Midway Atoll.
17 Aug 1942 USS Hornet and Task Force 17 departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii for the South Pacific.
5 Oct 1942 Task Force 17 (USS Hornet, Northampton, Pensacola, Juneau, San Diego, 3 destroyers) struck Japanese installations around the southern end of Bougainville in the Solomon Islands (Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid).
30 Nov 1942 Near Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, a formation of US cruisers sailing from Espiritu Santo ambushed a nighttime fast destroyer convoy led personally by Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka south of Savo Island in the Solomons. Tanaka's quick thinking led to a Japanese victory in the Battle of Tassafaronga. Cruisers USS Northampton, USS Pensacola, USS Minneapolis, and USS New Orleans (New Orleans-class) were badly damaged by torpedoes. Cruiser USS Northampton was sunk by Type 93 torpedoes launched by Japanese destroyer Oyashio. Light cruiser USS Honolulu reported gunfire hits (along with other ships) on Japanese destroyer Takanami which broke apart and sank.
7 Dec 1943 USS Maryland, USS Pensacola, USS Salt Lake City, and USS Portland, with USS Bailey as one their escorts, departed the Gilbert Islands bound for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
14 Dec 1943 USS Maryland, USS Pensacola, USS Salt Lake City, and USS Portland, with USS Bailey as one their escorts, arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
3 Sep 1944 Task Group 12.5 consisting of carrier USS Monterey, cruisers USS Chester, USS Pensacola, USS Salt Lake City, and destroyers USS Cummings, USS Reid, and USS Dunlap conducted a bombardment of Japanese positions on Wake Island in the Pacific.
26 Aug 1946 Pensacola was decommissioned from service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Ted Gatchel says:
20 Jul 2016 05:34:14 PM

My father, John Philip Gatchel passed away on 1996. He was a 20 year navy veteran and served on the USS Pensacola in WW II. Is there any record that he served onboard, he was a CPO. Thank you.
2. John Fitzpatrick says:
27 Jan 2017 04:11:38 PM

My dad was on the USS Pensacola when it was struck. Are there records? He died in 1994. His name was also John Fitzpatrick.
I served in the Navy in Vietnam.
3. Mike Klein says:
2 Apr 2017 03:59:06 PM

My father, Bernard N. Klein was in V-Division aboard the USS Pensacola (CA-24) during 1943 to 1945, last two battles in the pacific. He gave me amazing photos taken during the war by the ship photographer. He passed in 2001, God bless them all!
4. C.J. says:
1 Jun 2017 08:29:55 PM

My friend, Don Evanstad, age 94, sailed on the Pensacola. He is doing well and will turn 95 this fall. Hats off to all of the men of the Pensacola.
5. Davidw says:
22 Aug 2017 03:32:00 PM

Pensacola was not part of the 1st Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, she was part of the screen for Enterprise.
6. Mark Weaver says:
22 Aug 2017 03:47:22 PM

My late uncle Harold H. Hiser served on the Pensacola and was wounded in action. He used to host an annual reunion of "Pensy Pals" every summer at his cottage in Sanford, MI.
7. Mike Klein says:
10 Nov 2017 11:10:00 AM

C.J., if possible, please ask Mr. Evanstad if he knew my father, his nickname was either Bernie or Mike. He served as a Metalsmith for the planes. I can contacted via thekleins@comcast.net Thanks!
8. Anonymous says:
2 Mar 2018 01:29:42 PM

Can anyone tell me what battle (skirmish) the Pensacola was engaged in on 04 March 1942? Thanks.
9. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
2 Mar 2018 04:02:19 PM

Re: Comment Above:
On 4 Mar 1942, Pensacola was screening Lexington in the Solomon Sea. They had just repelled a bomber attack south of Bougainville on 20 Feb 1942 and were preparing for strikes against Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea on 10 Mar 1942.
10. David Desch says:
4 Mar 2018 10:00:16 AM

Does anyone remember serving with my Uncle Cecil Page, he was killed on the USS Pensacola during WW2. He was 19.
11. Karen says:
6 Mar 2018 02:22:18 PM

Thank you David. I am looking to confirm some information about a Y3C who was "Killed in Action" March 4, 1942. That date is according to his grave marker which doesn't necessarily mean it is correct. He was assigned to the Pensacola. Are there lists of casualties?
12. Anonymous says:
26 Apr 2018 06:55:52 PM

I have a photo of a sailor in uniform with USS Pensacola on his cap. Back of photo is a name of Riley S. Whiteside. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you.
13. Laurel says:
27 Jul 2018 07:13:21 PM

My dad Casey Pena was a gunman he revived purple heart
14. Bernadette says:
9 Dec 2018 07:59:27 AM

My grandfather, Bernard Subak, was on the USS Pensacola during WWII. He remembered the ship being hit, and his job was to weight down the body bags and sew them shut. He never really spoke about anything. He did however go to the reunions for the men that served on the ship, and I think that brought him comfort.
17 Mar 2019 08:20:14 PM

16. Anonymous says:
21 Mar 2019 02:02:25 PM

Larry Brayton, my grandfather was corpsman John Fitzpatrick on the Pensacola. He passed when I was 12, never got the stories. I served in the Marines 02-06. I’m sure if he were still around we would have great stories to trade. Does his name ring a bell?
17. Mark Stines says:
27 Aug 2019 07:40:22 PM

FM1 Robert Charles Russ was my mom's oldest brother..he was killed on Nov 30 during the Battle of Tasafaronga...he was working in the engine room that was hit with a torpedo..Ironically we both enlisted on September 27, him in '41 and me in '68...I am named after him and sure wish I could have met him.
18. James Yavorsky says:
5 Feb 2020 05:12:13 AM

My uncle that I was named after, Rev James Yavorsky, was a chaplain on the Pensacola. At his eulogy it was noted that he buried 22 sailors at sea at Iwo Jima, but the information above says only 17 were killed in the hits from the shore batteries. There were a lot of others injured, so I would suspect that at least 5 died soon after. Does anyone know any specifics? I have seen a listing of the 17 that died, so who were the other five? Did those perish in another attack?
19. Bert Corcoran says:
28 Mar 2021 05:02:03 PM

My grandfather served on the Pensacola from sometime in late 1943 through the end of the war. I'm interested in collecting any photographs anyone has of that time and hosting them online. I have a handful and will be scanning them to share online. Email me at bertjepson@gmail.com if you want to share any documents, photos, etc...
20. Tari Davis says:
5 Aug 2021 02:15:02 PM

My father served on the Pensacola from 1941 through the end of the war. My brother has all of his photos and such. I will be visiting him in October (COVID permitting) and will see what pictures I find there.
21. Howard R Dallas says:
10 Dec 2021 03:19:30 PM

My father Robert Dallas Jr. Served on the USS PENSACOLA. Looking for any information about him, crew members, etc. Thank you.
22. David Nelson says:
12 Jan 2022 04:12:14 PM

My father Carl Arthur Nelson S2, served on the USS Pensacola from Sept 44 until the end of the war as a pom-pom gunner I would appreciate any information about him or his service
23. Harold D Battarbee says:
23 Jan 2022 02:16:55 PM

My uncle Floyd Battarbee served on the Pensacola from Dec. 7th 1941 until the end of the war. Like many others, he never talked about it despite being in the thick of the Pacific war. Did anybody know him?
24. Gary Gadouas says:
18 Apr 2022 03:48:46 PM

My Dad, Armand J Gadouas, served on the Pensacola in the Pacific. He worked in the engine room as a mechanic.
Would appreciate anyone who may remember him.
25. Howard R Dallas says:
3 Jul 2022 08:55:18 AM

Does anyone remember my father Robert Dallas jr who served on the USS PENSACOLA.
26. Anonymous says:
27 Dec 2023 03:53:45 PM

My father served as the yeoman on the Pensacola . Howard Hall
27. Richard Miller says:
11 Apr 2024 08:22:29 PM

My uncle, James McHenry was a gunners mate onboard the Pensacola in the Pacific during WW2, does anyone remember him?

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More on Pensacola
» Ainsworth, Walden

Event(s) Participated:
» Action off Bougainville
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands
» Guadalcanal Campaign
» Solomon Islands Campaign
» Gilbert Islands Campaign
» Philippines Campaign, Phase 2
» Battle of Iwo Jima
» Okinawa Campaign

Heavy Cruiser Pensacola Photo Gallery
Pensacola at anchor, during the 1930sSeven cruisers at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 2 Feb 1933. Clockwise from left are Augusta, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Louisville, Pensacola, unidentified destroyer, Fox, Kane (on marine railway), Northampton, and Chester.
See all 17 photographs of Heavy Cruiser Pensacola

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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944

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