USS Worcester

CL-144 -- 1948 - 1958

Ship's History

USS WORCESTER (CL-144) LIGHT CRUISER

Introduction

Design & Construction

Commissioning

Statistics

Armament

RADAR and Fire Control

Armor

Atlantic Fleet Service

1948

1949

1950

Korean Theater Service

Assisting the USS Brush

Fire Support, Interdiction and Mines

Heading Home

Return to the Atlantic Fleet

1951

1952

1953

1954

1955

Pacific Fleet Service

1956

1957

1958

Reserve Fleet Service

1958

Final Disposition

Awards

Commanding Officers

Introduction

This history was developed from many sources including DANFS and the members of the USS Worcester Association provided an itinerary of all the ports that the Worcester called on as well as their memories of the time that they served aboard her. My father sparked my interest in the Worcester and the men that he served with.

Design & Construction

The USS WORCESTER, CL-144, was formally started as a project by the Bureau of Ships when a request for designs was made by the General Board on May 13, 1942. The design process resulted in ten different design schemes being proposed. The final design differed from the tenth design scheme’s sketches. The building of the Worcester was authorized through appropriations obtained by War Bonds sponsored by the City of Worcester, Massachusetts. It was designed to fulfill the requirements of several functional needs. She was the first U.S. Navy ship of her class on which all guns could be used for anti-aircraft fire as well as for surface targets. Combining Destroyer maneuverability with cruiser size, the new WORCESTER could carry out scouting operations, lead a flotilla of destroyers, and could still keep the sea in any kind of weather. She had a fuel capacity for long voyages and speed to overtake other vessels and maneuver rapidly. She could provide armor protection against gunfire and carried superior guns that were capable of out-shooting the enemy’s hard-hitting cruiser units, and still repel mass air attacks. The WORCESTER was the first of six in her class, planned to be built, but only two would be completed, the WORCESTER (CL-144) and the ROANOKE (CL-145). They were designed to combine destroyer speed and maneuverability with cruiser size and firepower that could deal not only with surface targets, but with aircraft as well. They embodied many of the lessons learned during Word War-Il, as hard-hitting, dual-purpose cruisers.

 

The WORCESTER was built by New York Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Corporation in Camden, New Jersey.

 

                                  29 January 1945 - keel laid

            4 February 1947 - launched

Commissioning

The WORCESTER was christened by Miss Gloria Ann Sullivan, daughter of Mayor and Mrs. F. G. Sullivan of Worcester, Mass. at the Philadelphia Naval Base with Capt. T. B. Dugan in Command.

Statistics at commissioning

            Displacement - 14,000 tons

            Length - 680 feet

            Width - 71 feet

            Draft - 26 feet

            120,000 SHP – 4 x 620 PSI boilers

            Geared steam turbines, 4 screws

            Maximum speed 33 knots at flank speed

            Ship's Complement - 1,070 men

            Construction cost - $30,000,000

Armament (as built and early 1949)

The main battery consisted of twelve 6-in/47 dual-purpose guns mounted in six turrets. At commissioning the 3-in/50 guns were not installed, but approximately six 20mm mounts were installed for gunnery practice during the shakedown cruise. The 3-in/50’s were installed in early 1949 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and the 20mm guns removed. There were five dual 3-in/50 Cal. mounts on the port side, five on the starboard side and one on the bow, plus a pair of single 3” on blisters each side of the fantail, for a total count of 24 three-inch guns.

RADAR and Fire Control (as built and early 1949)

At commissioning, the search radars were SR-2, SR-6, SG-6, and SP-1, with the SR-2 and SG-6 on the Mainmast, the SR-6 on a mast just forward of the rear stack, and the SP- 1 on the After-mast. The SR-2 antenna was fed with a rigid coax tube 1.5 inches in diameter, with a 1/4” diameter center conductor, held in place by ceramic donuts as spacers, and was not very effective, so it was eventually replaced with the SR-6 from the mast ahead of the after stack, which was then removed.. Fire Control radar consisted of 2 ea. MK-13, 4 each ~ MK-25, 4 each ~ MK-35, 6 each & MK-27’s mounted in each of the 6 main turrets. There were also individual radars on the bow and fantail 3-inch gun mounts, for a total count of 19 fire-control radars.

Armor (as built)

5” Belt

6 ½” Turrets

5” Barbettes

3 ½” Deck

5” Conning Tower

Atlantic Fleet Service

1948

After commissioning, WORCESTER was assigned to Cruiser Division (CruDiv) 10, and spent the first year of her commissioned service completing her fitting out, conducting shakedown training off the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and undergoing availability type training. Upon completing her fitting out she departed on 13 September for trials in Delaware Bay, and arrived at Norfolk Naval Base 20 September. Departed Norfolk for Boston on 30 September for presentation of the ship’s silver service. Then she departed Boston on 4 October for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and arrived at Guantanamo Bay 7 October 1948 to begin her shakedown period. She operated in and out of Guantanamo Bay and Cristobal, Canal Zone until 10 November. Then she departed Guantanamo Bay on 9 December for the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and on 15 December went in for final fitting and overhaul. This is the period when her 3-inch guns were installed.

1949

WORCESTER then departed Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 11 May 1949, enroute to Norfolk Naval Base, arriving on 12 May. Then departed Norfolk on 18 May enroute to Guantanamo Bay for a period of refresher training before her first Mediterranean Cruise, and arrived Guantanamo 21 May. She visited Kingston, Jamaica on 18-19 June, San Juan, Puerto Rico on 4 July, and then to Culebra, Puerto Rico for gunnery drills on 5-7 July. She then departed Culebra for Norfolk, arriving 11 July. Then departed Norfolk on 15 July enroute Boston, arriving 18 July. Departed Boston 22 July for Newport, Rhode Island for a Reserve Training Cruise arrived 22 July. The Reserves came aboard and she departed Newport 26 July for New York, N.Y. She arrived New York on 29 July, and then departed 1 August for Newport again, arriving 6 August Departed Newport again on 21 August for Norfolk, arriving 23 August She loaded ammunition at Norfolk and departed 27 August enroute back to Newport, Rhode Island, arriving 28 August 1949. Then on 6 September 1949 Worcester departed Newport, R.I. for her first Mediterranean Cruise. She arrived in Gibraltar, B.C.C. (British Crown Colony), on 16 September 1949 where she became part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, with the carrier LEYTE (CV-32) and the Heavy Cruiser DES MOINES (CA-134). She departed Gibraltar on 22 September and visited Malta on 26 September, Arancia Bay, Sardinia on 28 September; Golfe Juan, France on 30 September.; back to Malta on 12 October; Bizerte, Tunisia on 15 October; Malta on 20 October; Argostoli, Greece on 22 October; Crete on 25 October; Iskenderum, Turkey on 28 October; Athens, Greece on 2 November. Departed Athens on 9 November enroute Trieste, Free Territory via the Adriatic Sea, and spotted a WW-II floating mine, which was punctured and sunk by rifle fire, and arrived Trieste 12 November; then to Venice, Italy on 19 November; then on to Gibraltar, B.C.C on 30 November. At Gibraltar, she was detached from the Sixth Fleet, and departed thru the straits of Gibraltar enroute Norfolk Naval Shipyard, arriving on 10 December 1949. Her first Mediterranean Cruise was successfully completed. On December 13, 1949 WORCESTER departed Norfolk for Newport, R.I., and arrived at Newport 15 December.

1950

WORCESTER departed Newport on 9 January 1950 with some Navy Reservist’s aboard for a 2 week Caribbean Cruise, stopping at San Juan, Puerto Rico 14 January. She departed San Juan on 16 January enroute back to Newport, R.I., arriving 21 January. Departed Newport 24 January for the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard. Arrived 25 January, and then departed Philadelphia on 11 February to return to Newport on 12 February. She then departed Newport on 20 February, enroute to Norfolk, arriving Norfolk 21 February 1950. On 23 February 1950, WORCESTER departed Norfolk to participate in Operation PORTEX, a joint Army, Navy/Marine and Air Force exercise off the coast of Puerto Rico until 12 March, when it departed Vieques, P.R. to form up for Operation CARIBEX-FJFTY. At the completion of CARIBEX-FIFTY on 22 March, she departed for Norfolk, arriving 24 March. Departed Norfolk 27 March for Newport, R.I. arriving on 28 March. She then departed Newport 17 April for NavShipYard, Philadelphia, arriving 18 April for a short overhaul. She departed Philadelphia on 2 May, enroute Norfolk, arriving 3 May to load ammunition and make a same-day departure with “Task Force 88” to relieve units of the Sixth Fleet. WORCESTER arrived Lisbon, Portugal on 13 May 1950 to begin her second cruise with the Sixth Fleet. She departed Lisbon 16 May enroute to Palmas Bay, Sardinia, arriving 20 May, then departed 21 May for Malta Operations Area for Operation MEDLANDEX. Then departed Malta for Augusta Bay, Sicily on 24 May and arriving 25 May. Departed Augusta Bay on 31 May enroute Bizerte, Tunisia, arriving 1 June. Departed Bizerte on 5 June enroute Naples, Italy, arriving 8 June. Then departed Naples on 16 June enroute the Malta Area, departing Malta on 18 June enroute Genoa, Italy, arriving 21 June. Departed Genoa on 26 June for La Spezia on 26 June, then departed for Golfe Juan, France on 29 June, arriving 3 July. Then Departed Golfe Juan enroute Crete for another “MIDLANDEX” Exercise on 15 July, then on to Athens, Greece, arriving Phaleron Bay, Greece on 20 July.

Korean Theater Service

While on her second tour to the Mediterranean, Korean hostilities broke out and WORCESTER received orders to depart for the Far East Theatre. On July 27, 1950, WORCESTER departed Phaleron Bay and joined Destroyer Division 21, which included: FRED T. BERRY, (DDE-858); KEPLER, (DDE-765); NORMS, (DDE-859); and McCAFFREY, (DDE-860). The detached high-speed taskforce departed for the 7,800 mile trip to Korean waters, via the Suez Canal, passing Port Said, Egypt on 29 July, then thru the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean, and arrived Colombo, Ceylon on 7 August 1950. They departed Colombo on 9 August for Okinawa, passing thru the Bashi Channel to Buckner Bay, Okinawa, arriving 19 August. They had been routed thru the Bashi Channel to be available to counter any invasion attempt on Formosa by the Communist Chinese. After refueling from the tanker NAVASOTA (AO- 106), they departed Okinawa on 20 August and arrived Keelung, Formosa 21 August 1950 to join the Formosa Patrol. She was at anchor in Keelung from 22 thru 26 August On 27 August 1950, WORCESTER departed Keelung to join Task Force 77 (TF-77), the fast carrier task force, consisting of PHILIPPINE SEA, (CV-47) and VALLEY FORGE, (CV-45), then operating in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Korea. In the ensuing days, the carriers launched air strikes against North Korean ground targets while the screen provided protection against the possibility of North Korean air attacks. Her helicopter also performed plane-guard duty, standing by in the air to rescue any ditched pilots from nearby waters. On September 4, WORCESTER’S radar picked up an un-identified contact at 13:31 hours. The combat air patrol, (4-Vought F4U Corsairs) from VALLEY FORGE, (CV-45), reported the contact as a twin-engine bomber with a Red Star marking. At 13:45 hours, the F4U’s vectored to the “Bogey” by FLETCHER (DDE-445) splashed the bomber 47 miles away. The following day, WORCESTER went to General Quarters at 11:08, and commenced maneuvering at 20 knots, to avoid possible air attack, when her radar picked up an un-identified target closing on the formation from the east. Three minutes later, WORCESTER fired three rounds of 6” in the direction of the intruder to warn her off. It turned out to be a British “Short Sunderland” flying boat on patrol. At 21:43 WORCESTER secured from Battle Stations and resumed her patrol with TF-77. On September 6, WORCESTER retired from her screening duties and transferred her helicopter to PHILIPPINE SEA, (CV-47) to clear the ship for a practice anti-aircraft firing drill. Then she recovered the “Chopper” and set course for Sasebo, Japan, for replenishment of her ammunition, fuel, stores, and provisions. She remained in Sasebo until 05:32 on 10 September when she departed for the Yellow Sea and formed up with TF-77 on 15 September, to support the amphibious assault on North Korean forces in the Inchon and Seoul area’s of Korea. A daring strike, aimed at outflanking the North Korean invaders by a strategic landing behind their lines in South Korea, masterminded by General Douglas McArthur. WORCESTER screened the fast carrier task force as their planes bombed North Korean targets ashore. On September 20, she was detached to conduct shore bombardment with TG-95.2 in the vicinity of Pohang Dong. She proceeded to the objective via the Straits north of the Quelpart Islands and west of Tsushima, to the rendezvous with the HELENA, (CA-75), 3 miles off the east coast of Korea and 12 miles north of Pohang Dong. She relieved the HELENA in her Fire Support duties at 06:00 on 24 September. At 08:05, WORCESTER began shore bombardment, shelling nine North Korean troop concentrations ashore. Directed by Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) personnel ashore, WORCESTER delivered Call-Fire throughout the day, with pinpoint accuracy, at troop concentrations and command post’s. At dusk, she was relieved by SAMUEL N. MOORE, (DD747), the nighttime fire support ship, and departed to seaward of the fire support area, for the night. WORCESTER returned the following morning and resumed her Fire Support duties, adding to the already beaten and retreating North Korean forces. Throughout the 25th, WORCESTER, using “KMAG” spotting from ashore, delivered Fire Support for the advancing U.N. Forces, breaking up communist troop concentrations with her precise 6-inch fire. The ship’s War Diary at one point recorded: “Spotter reported troops dispersed. “KMAG” reported that all firing has been very effective and instrumental in enemy retreat.” WORCESTER spent the night hours of the 25th and into the 26th, patrolling eight miles of a stretch of coast between Yonghae and Utchin. The rapid advance of the U.N. Forces on the 26th, negated fire support from WORCESTER’s guns until September 27, when she received a report that the USS BRUSH, (DD-745) had struck a mine off Tanchon, North Korea at 12:20. The USS SAMUEL N. MOORE,(DD-747) took over On-call Fire Support duties, and the WORCESTER immediately steamed at 27 knots for up to 100 miles to provide assistance.

 

Assisting the USS Brush

Upon arrival, the BRUSH was down by the bow, with a 3-degree port list, and there were five dead and 30 injured. At 01:01 on the 27th, WORCESTER commenced taking on board the more seriously wounded of the destroyer’s crew via high-line transfer. Two Corpsmen were transferred to the BRUSH during these transfers, to prepare the wounded for transfer. By 02:28, fifteen stretcher cases, all suffering from burns, were received on the WORCESTER. The WORCESTER and BRUSH altered course for Japan after damage control shored up bulkheads around the damaged area, and later that day, took on four more stretcher patients and six ambulatory patients, plus one corpse. They were later joined by the salvage vessel USS BOLSTER, (ARS-38) and destroyer DeHAVEN (DD-727), and continued to Sasebo, Japan, arriving at Sasebo the afternoon of 29 Sep., 1950. As she was being made fast to her buoy in Sasebo harbor, WORCESTER received this message from the BRUSH: “With us you are not only Big League, but World Champions. The kindness, consideration and eagerness to help, of WORCESTER’s ship’s company, will never be forgotten by the BRUSH.”

Fire Support, Interdiction and Mines

On September 30, WORCESTER departed Sasebo to return to Korean waters, and at 06:00 on October 1, joined the task force south of the 41st. parallel, to resume her fire support and interdiction duties to support the advance of the U.N. Troops. As she patrolled off the coast, WORCESTER launched her helicopter to conduct anti-submarine and anti-mine patrols, and frequently stationed lookouts on the bow of the ship with their eyes peeled for mines. Periodically the screening destroyers found and destroyed mines drifting nearby. Recent encounters with the horned spheres had resulted in all operations being carried out at the 100-fathom curve, which meant maximum gun range for the ships when “Call-Fire” was requested. On 7 October, WORCESTER picked up 3 North Korean POW’s, and transferred them to USS ROCHESTER (CA-124). WORCESTER, as flagship for TG-95.2, returned to Sasebo on 8 October, and Rear Admiral C.C. Hartman removed his flag and staff from the WORCESTER while she was re-fueling, rearming and loading provisions. On 9 October, WORCESTER became a Flagship again, when Rear Admiral Allen E. Smith brought his flag and staff aboard as Commander TG-95. At 12:48 on 10 October, WORCESTER got underway to return to the East Coast of Korea, this time to screen mine-sweeping operations at the important port of Wonsan, and to support the advance of the 3rd. Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Division. Early on 11 October, the operation truly became International, when the British destroyer JAMES COCKADE,(D-34), the Australian destroyer HIMIAS WARRAMUNGA,(D-123), and the Canadian destroyer HMCS ATHABASKAN, joined WORCESTER’s group, which already included the British Light Cruiser JAMS CEYLON,(C-30) and heavy cruiser JAMS HELENA, and the U.S. Heavy Cruiser ROCHESTER,(CA-124), and destroyers HERBERT J. THOMAS, (DD-833) and MADDOX,(DD-73 1). On 12 October the Battleship MISSOURI (BB-63) joined, bringing her heavy 16” guns to the task force. While MISSOURI’s helicopter searched the projected bombardment track for mines, the U.N. Force formed up for battle. At 11:50, when a shell from an un-observed shore battery fell 5,000 yards short of the group, it apparently signaled the beginning. WORCESTER hoisted the Blue & White U.N. Flag to the foretruck and commenced firing at exactly noon on 12 October For the next 90 odd minutes, WORCESTER’s 6” guns hammered at iron works and railroad tunnels in the port installations of Chongjin, just 50 miles from Communist China. WORCESTER’s 6” guns expended 1,065 rounds in the shore bombardment on 12 October On 13 October; she was at Songjin, and shelled port facilities and railroad installations with 150 rounds of 6”. Songjin is now listed on current maps as Kimchaek. On 17 October, she returned to Chongjin and fired an additional 105 rounds of 6” at what was left of the port facilities. Both of these targets were over 100 miles north of Wonsan, and were shelled to damage North Korean supply lines.  Over the next few days, WORCESTER and the ships in company with her proceeded to rain destruction on targets of opportunity near Wonson, targets that ranged from railroad marshaling yards to rolling stock, and adjacent warehouse areas. Also on 16 October, in an action reminiscent of the “Battle of the Pips”, in WW-II, the HELENA, WORCESTER and accompanying destroyers fired at un-identified radar targets, ”Blips”, on radar screens that were approaching from the north. They were never visually spotted or confirmed, but were probably 2 flocks of geese. WORCESTER then returned to Sasebo to pick up mall and some passengers, then returned to the Wonson Task Force to transfer the mail, VIP passengers and her helicopter unit to the ROCHESTER, (CA-124), then at 17:23 on 21 October, in company with LIMS HELENA, and screened by USS SUTHERLAND, (DD-743) and USS ENGLISH,(DD-696), she cleared Korean waters to join up with USS COLLETT,(DD-73 0). WORCESTER then was escorted only by USS COLLETT and continued on to Sasebo, Japan. She arrived Sasebo 23 October and disembarked Rear Admiral Smith, his Flag and Staff, to the Destroyer Tender USS DIXIE, (AD-14). WORCESTER then completed her transfer of helicopter support personnel, spares, and equipment to Fleet Activities, Sasebo, and at 17:0 1 on 23 October, departed Sasebo for Yokosuka, Japan, arriving 08:23 on 25 October After refueling, replenishment, liberty for her crew, and cleaning of two boilers, WORCESTER departed Yokosuka, Japan on 27 October 1950, enroute Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. The day after she sailed, WORCESTER received a radio dispatch from Admiral Turner Joy, Commander, Naval Forces, Far East, which said: “Upon the WORCESTER’s departure from the Far East, I wish to extend a hearty ‘WELL DONE’ to the entire Ship’s Company. Your rapid deployment from the European Station, to the Far East, followed by your immediate and most effective participation in the Korean effort, clearly demonstrates that your status of ‘War Readiness’ was excellent.”

Heading Home

WORCESTER then departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 4 November for the Panama Canal Zone, arriving 15 November. She departed the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal on 16 November, enroute the Philadelphia Naval Base. She arrived at Philadelphia on 21 November 1950, having circumnavigated the globe. She departed NavBase Philadelphia on 27 November, enroute Norfolk, arriving 28 November to unload ammunition, then departed 29 November for Boston Navy Yard.

 

WORCESTER arrived at her homeport of Boston on 1 December 1950.

Return to the Atlantic Fleet

1951

After a needed overhaul in the Boston Naval Shipyard, she departed Boston on 20 March, enroute Norfolk, arriving 22 March to load ammunition, and then departed 30 March for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arriving 2 April for some refresher training in the Caribbean. By this time, her armament and fire control systems had been battle tested and her fighting weight tipped the scales at 17,000 tons. During anti-submarine training out of Guantanamo Bay, a depth charge was rolled off the fantail and exploded at the wrong depth. The result was a propeller shaft strut bearing was damaged and she was forced to return to Norfolk. She departed Guantanamo 28 April enroute Norfolk, arriving 30 April and put into dry-dock on 1 May in Newport News. She left dry dock on 4 may, 1951 with a new Skipper in command. Captain H.H. Henderson turned over command of the WORCESTER to Captain C.A. Buchanan. Moving from dry dock in Newport News to Norfolk, he had been ordered to tie up on the port side of the USS ROCHESTER, (CA-124). Since tugs were not available to assist the Captain, he took the ship in alone and managed to crush all the fenders between the two hulls and then wiped out all projections on the port quarter of the ROCHESTER. After necessary repairs were made, provisions re-stocked, and ammunition loaded, WORCESTER departed Norfolk on 15 May 1951, for Augusta Bay, Sicily, to begin her third Mediterranean Cruise, arriving Augusta Bay on 22 May. Other ports visited on the 1951 Cruise were: Athens, Greece on 1-8 June; Taranto, Italy on 14-18 June; Genoa, Italy on 22-29 June; Cannes, France on 2-9 July; Golfe Juan, France on 9-16 July; Izinir, Turkey on 23-28 July; Suda Bay, Crete on 2-12 Aug;; Golfe Juan, France on 18-22 August; Cannes, France on 22-27 August; Marseille, France on 28-31 August; Genoa, Italy on 8-12 September; then Gibraltar, B.C.C. on 22-26 September. Worcester departed Gibraltar on 26 September cleared the Strait of Gibraltar and headed west for it’s home port of Boston to complete it’s third Mediterranean Cruise. She made port in Boston harbor 4 October 1951. WORCESTER then departed Boston on 18 October, enroute Norfolk, and arrived 20 October to unload ammunition, then departed Norfolk for Vieques, Puerto Rico, on 31 October to 1 November, then returned to Boston Navy Yard on 17 November for an overhaul period.

1952

She left Boston 21 January and re-joined the Atlantic Fleet for Cold Weather Exercises with Cruiser Div. Four,  off the coast of Newfoundland. On 31 January 1952, WORCESTER tied up at Norfolk Navy Yard to load hoses, spray nozzles and pumps, plus assorted radiological monitoring equipment and some N.R.C. specialist’s. On 4 February she departed Norfolk for open water to undergo Atomic Washdown Tests. The spray nozzles were arranged in a pattern to completely envelope the ship in a cloud of water to wash off radiation fallout. With the tests completed, she returned to Norfolk on 8 February to off-load all the hoses, nozzles, pumps, radiological instruments and N.R.C. personnel. WORCESTER departed Norfolk 11 February, enroute Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arriving 14 February for refresher training. WORCESTER received orders 17 February to paint ship and proceed to Galveston, Texas as a Host Ship for the Mardi Gras. She departed 19 February and arrived Galveston 23 Feb, for the Big Celebration. She departed Galveston 27 February and arrived Guantanamo 4 March. She departed Guantanamo 8 March to continue Fleet Exercises and gunnery drills on Little Culebra Island on 9 March then returned to Guantanamo 12 March. WORCESTER then departed Guantanamo Bay on 16 March for its homeport of Boston. Leave and liberty for the crew, and shipyard repairs were made in preparation for her next cruise. WORCESTER departed Boston on 22 April 1952, on a cloudy, foggy morning to begin her fourth Mediterranean Cruise. She headed east into the Atlantic to join other ships of the Task Force, and proceed to the Mediterranean Sea. The Task Force consisted of the Carriers CORAL SEA (CVB-43); WASP (CVA-18); cruisers SALEM (CA- 139); BALTIMORE (CA-68); WORCESTER (CL- 144); fleet tanker PAUKATUCK (AO- 108); and several destroyers, including ISHERWOOD (DD-520); MULLANEY (DD-528); STODDARD (DD-566); HALE (DD-642); DENNIS J. BUCKLEY (DDR-808); NEWMAN K.PERRY (DDR-883); RODMAN (DMS-21) and HOBSON (DMS-26). About 500 miles south of the Azores, the carrier WASP, destroyer’s minesweepers HOBSON and RODMAN left our formation, and staged numerous simulated air attacks on our Task Force to test our air defenses. The WASP was recovering aircraft from the after-dark attack, when the flanking plane-guard HOBSON and the Carrier WASP collided while making a heading change, which resulted in the bow of the WASP cutting the HOBSON in half, between the stacks, and sinking it. The collision also resulted in extensive damage to the bow of the WASP. After survivor recovery operations were completed, the WASP limped back to the New York Navy Shipyard for repairs. Over 100 lives were lost on the HOBSON. The Task Force then continued on to the Mediterranean. We were escorted thru the Strait of Gibraltar by dozens of dolphins, and arrived at Oran, Algeria on 3 May, our first port-of-call for the 1952 summer Cruise with the 6th Fleet. The next stop was Arancia Bay, Sardinia, 14-19 May; then to St. Jean Beaulieu, France, 23-31 May. Next was a run past Stromboli, thru the Strait of Messina, and dropped anchor at Taranto, Italy, 2-5 June; then down to Messina, Sicily, 6- 10 June. We then joined with NATO Forces at Malta on 13 June for a NATO “MLEDLANDEX” Exercise, and then departed for Naples, Italy, 16-22 June. While docking in Naples, an old WW-I Battleship was departing from the other side of the pier. The next stop was Cannes, France, 2-15 July. On Bastille Day, the Carrier USS WASP arrived after being repaired by removing a section of the bow from HORNET while it was in dry-dock at New York. Then WASP was placed in dry-dock and the damaged section was removed. Then the matching bow section from the HORNET was welded in place on the WASP. The Carrier TARAWA (CVA-40) could then be relieved, after being held over until the WASP could be repaired and return to the 6th Fleet operation. We departed Cannes, enroute Athens, Greece, 24-31 July, then on to Izmir, Turkey, 1-6 August WORCESTER then re-joined the NATO Forces for an exercise at Suda Bay, Crete on 8-9 August, then visited Tripoli, Libya, 13-18 August, then back to Taranto, Italy, 23 Aug-3 September She then visited Barn, Italy, 14-16 September, and witnessed a beautiful fireworks display. The next stop was Trieste, F.T.T., 17-19 September, which was still a joint-occupied city. Then on to beautiful Venice, Italy 20-24 September She pulled anchor in the Grand Canal in Venice on 24 September and headed for Gibraltar, B.C.C., arriving 2 October She then bid the 6th Fleet good-by and departed Gibraltar on 5 October she was again escorted thru the Strait of Gibraltar by dozens of dolphins, arriving Boston on 17 October 1952, to complete WORCESTER’s Fourth Mediterranean Cruise. After a brief stay in Boston, she got underway again with Cruiser Division Four, for exercises in the North Atlantic for two weeks, then returning to Boston for shipyard overhaul until the spring of 1953.

1953

WORCESTER departed Boston on 7 April for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on a summer Midshipman Cruise, arriving Guantanamo 11 April, then on to Port Au Prince on 2 May, back to Guantanamo on 4 May, then out to San Juan, Puerto Rico on 16 May, and back to Guantanamo on 19 May. She departed for Boston on 22 May and arrived Boston 26 May. WORCESTER then departed Boston for Norfolk, arriving 9 June, and then returned to Boston 22 June. She departed Boston again on 7 July 1953 for Norfolk, arriving 9 July. WORCESTER then departed Norfolk 12 July on a Midshipman Cruise. The first stop was Bergen, Norway on 27 July; Copenhagen, Denmark on 3 August; then Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 26 August; and returned to Norfolk on 3 September. She then departed Norfolk and arrived Boston 5 September 1953. In September 1953, WORCESTER departed Boston to take part in “Operation Mariner”, in North Atlantic waters, which was the largest peacetime Naval Maneuvers on record. A month later, on 9 October, she joined the Sixth Fleet at Cagliari, to begin her fifth tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea. Ports visited were: Istanbul, Turkey on 21 October; Athens, Greece on 28 October; Suda Bay, Crete on 31 October; La Spezia, on 10 November; Golfe Juan, France on 21 November; Naples, Italy on 3 December; Cannes, France on 28 December

1954

Worcester continued her fifth Mediterranean cruise arriving in Barcelona, Spain on 9 January, 1954; Lisbon, Portugal on 19 January Worcester then returned to Boston on 3 February, 1954 to complete the WORCESTER’s fifth Mediterranean Cruise. WORCESTER then left Boston for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arriving 14 February; then departed for New York, arriving 30 March, then back to Boston on 7 April, 1954 for a shipyard overhaul period. She departed Boston on 7 June for Norfolk, arriving 11 June, then returned to Boston on 22 June. She then departed for Bar Harbor, Maine, arriving 3 July, and returned to Boston on 6 July, then on to Norfolk 9 July. On 12 July 1954, WORCESTER departed Norfolk with 320 NROTC Midshipmen on an eight week training cruise to Dublin, Ireland on 26 July; Portsmouth, England on 4 August; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on 26 Aug; and returned to Norfolk on 2 September Then departed Norfolk and arrived Boston 4 September, and then back to Norfolk to off-load ammunition. Then she returned to Boston on 28 September for a shipyard overhaul period.

1955

On 24 February 1955, WORCESTER departed Boston for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arriving 2 March for refresher training. Then departed for Port Au Prince, arriving 19 March then returned to Guantanamo 21 March. She departed for Boston with a stop at Mayport, Florida on 9 April, and arrived Boston on 16 March 1955. On 4 May 1955, WORCESTER departed Boston and embarked on her Sixth Mediterranean Cruise for NATO and the Sixth Fleet operations, and arrived at Gibraltar 14 May. Other ports visited were: Lisbon, Portugal on 18 May; San Raphael, France on 28 May; Naples, Italy on 1 June; Cannes, France on 15 June; Marseille, France on 1 July; Toulon, France on 8 July; Palermo, Italy on 22 July; Rhodes, Crete on 5 August; Salonika on 11 August; Leghorn on 25 August; Barcelona, Spain on 10 September; Gibraltar, BCC on 17 September, then back to Boston on 30 September 1955, to complete the Sixth and Last Mediterranean Cruise for the WORCESTER. After a short yard overhaul period, she departed Boston 30 October for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba arriving 4 November; then for a good-will visit to Kingston, Jamaica on 11 November; then back to Boston on 22 November in time for Thanksgiving for her crew and Liberty in her home port of Boston for the last time.

Pacific Fleet Service

1956

On January 18, 1956, WORCESTER departed Boston for the last time, passed west-bound thru the Panama Canal on 23 January, and arrived at her new home port of Long Beach, California on 1 February 1956. After staying in port for a month, WORCESTER departed Long Beach as a unit of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and embarked on a four month tour to the Far East, an area it had previously visited under less friendly conditions in 1950. Ports visited were: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 5 March; Yokosuka, Japan on 22 March; Kobe, Japan on 9 April; Hong Kong on 28 April; Subic Bay on 7 May; Manila, Philippines on 19 May; Keelung, Formosa on 23 May; Buckner Bay, Okinawa on 2 June; Yokohama, Japan on 9 June; Yokosuka, Japan on 15 June, then headed east for Pearl Harbor on 1 July. On 8 July the “WANDERING-WOE” as her crew affectionately called their “Home Away From Home”, returned to Long Beach, where officers and enlisted men enjoyed stateside leave and liberty. She then departed for San Francisco, arriving 10 August; and returned to Long Beach 16 August 1956. For the next few months, WORCESTER acted as a training ship and participated in three Naval Reserve Cruises.  Reservists from six Naval District’s were given an insight to shipboard life, as well as extensive military training. On 19 October 1956, she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, where she underwent her regular overhaul period.

1957

At the end of this overhaul 4 February 1957, preparations were made to begin refresher training under commander Fleet Training Group, San Diego, California. On 9 April 1957, WORCESTER departed Long Beach for her final cruise. A Far East Cruise, serving as Ambassadors of Good Will for the United States. She visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 16 April; Kobe, Japan on 4 May; Yokosuka, Japan on 11 May; Shimoda, Japan on 17 May; Buckner Bay, Okinawa on 25 May; Nagasaki, Japan on 3 June, Yokosuka, Japan on 21 June; Sasebo, Japan on 8 July; Yokosuka, Japan on 22 July; Hong Kong on 6 August; Hokadate, Japan on 12 September; Yokohama, Japan on 17 September; Yokosuka Japan on 20 September; and Kobe, Japan on 29 September. She then made a last return trip to Long Beach, arriving on 19 October 1957.

1958

 

Reserve Fleet Service

1958

On 2 September 1958, WORCESTER departed Long Beach and steamed for the Mare Island Naval Shipyard to commence the de-activation process. On December 19, 1958, WORCESTER was de-commissioned at Mare Island, California and placed in reserve status, “Moth-Balled”, for re-activation if needed, and berthed at San Francisco. She was then transferred to Bremerton, Washington, Naval Shipyard before being struck from the U.S. Navy list of active ships in December 1960. She was then sold for scrap to the Zidell Explorations Inc., of Portland, Oregon on July 5, 1972 for $495,950.

 

The revolutionary light cruiser that never had a chance to prove herself in her designed role had proved herself and her crew well, in a secondary role in Korea, was broken up for scrap. She was the last of the “All-Gun”, Light Cruiser concept designs, the new cruisers being armed with missiles.

 

Final Disposition

Approximately 200 tons of her armor plate was sent to the Fermi National Accelerator Lab at Batavia, Illinois, west of Chicago, and the armor is being used for absorption shielding in the particle accelerator. USS ROANOKE (CL-145) also supplied 200 tons of armor plate, along with the Heavy Cruisers MACON (CA-132); FALL RIVER (CA-131) and BALTIMORE (CA-68) with 300 tons of armor plate each. Five Essex Class Carriers; PRINCETON (CVA-37); ANTIETAM (CVA-36); BUNKER HILL (C VA-1 7); PHILIPPINE SEA (CVA-47); and LAKE CHAMPLAIN (CVA-39), each supplied 600 tons of armor plate to Fermi Lab.

 

Awards

The WORCESTER was awarded two battle stars for her “Korean War Service”

Commanding Officers

T. B. Dugan, Captain USN 6/26/48 to 6/24/49

R. E. Wilson, Captain USN 6/24/49 to 6/6/50

H. H. Henderson, Captain USN 6/6/50 to 5/4/51

C. A. Buchanan, Captain USN 5/4/51 to 1/5/52

J. B. Cochran, Captain USN 1/5/52 to 12/12/52

H. H. McIlhenny, Captain USN 12/12/52 to 2/8/54

H. J. Armstrong, Captain USN 2/8/54 to 5/3/55

G. H. Wales, Captain USN 5/3/55 to 8/1/56

R. C. Williams, Captain USN 8/1/56 to 12/19/57

T. W. Hogan, Captain USN 12/19/57 to 12/19/58