July 21, 1944
The USS Birmingham, a light cruiser named for Alabama’s largest city, earned fame in World War II. The ship was built in Newport News, Virginia, and later launched by Mrs. Cooper Green, wife of the president of the Birmingham City Commission. The USS Birmingham was one of the fiercest fighting ships during heavy battle in the Pacific theater. The Battle of Guam on July 21, 1944, was one of the ship’s most ferocious conflicts. The battle ended when the U.S. territory in the Mariana Islands was finally declared secure on Aug. 10, 1944. After many heavy crusades, the USS Birmingham was decommissioned in 1946.
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U.S. Navy light cruiser, USS Birmingham (CL-62), in the Hampton Roads area, Virginia, on Feb. 20, 1943. (U.S. Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia)
The USS Birmingham is near-missed by a Japanese coastal gun, while bombarding in support of the invasion of Saipan, June 1944. (U.S. Naval Historical Center National Archives)
Heavy explosion aft on USS Princeton (CVL-23), with USS Birmingham (CL-62) alongside, Oct. 24, 1944. (U.S. Naval Historical Center National Archives)
Crewmen on USS Birmingham (CL-62) aim fire hoses on the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23), as their ship comes alongside to assist in damage-control measures, Oct. 24, 1944. (U.S. Naval Historical Center National Archives)
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)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.