July 10, 1943
On July 10, 1943, just over a year since the USS Birmingham was launched, the ship saw the first battle of its career. The Birmingham was one of many ships that was set to assist in Operation Husky — the semi-aquatic invasion of Sicily during World War II. The ship’s role in the invasion was to provide cover for the Third Infantry Division by firing at German and Italian positions. The vessel faced its first casualty that day when the gunner of one of the Birmingham’s spotter planes was shot and killed by friendly fire. After Operation Husky, the Birmingham returned to port for a short time before sailing for Pearl Harbor.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The USS Birmingham (CL-62) was a light cruiser commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1943 and named for the largest city in Alabama. The ship was used during World War II in the Mediterranean and the Pacific theater of operations. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, U.S. Naval Historical Center)
Contrails in the wake of fighter planes over the USS Birmingham, which saw action during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, U.S. Naval Historical Center)
The USS Birmingham sustained heavy damage while trying to assist the USS Princeton, which had been damaged by a Japanese bomb attack during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. A bomb magazine on the Princeton exploded, damaging the Birmingham, which was moored alongside. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, U.S. Naval Historical Center)
USS Birmingham (CL-62) assisting with firefighting of the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23), Oct. 24, 1944. (U.S. Navy Historical Center, National Archives, Wikipedia)
In October 1944, the USS Birmingham returned to the U.S. after sustaining damage while aiding the USS Princeton, which was bombed during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, U.S. Naval Historical Center)
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