USS Rochester (CA-124)

USS Rochester (CA-124) was a member of the Oregon City sub-class of the Baltimore class of heavy cruisers and served three tours of duty during the Korean War. Rochester received six battle stars for Korean War service.

The Rochester was laid down on 29 May 1944, launched on 28 August 1945 and commissioned on 20 December 1946. Her shakedown cruiser took her to Cuba. Between April 1947 and January 1948 she carried out nine naval reserve training cruises, which ranged from Casco Bay in the north to the Caribbean in the south.

Next came a spell in the Mediterranean. From March 1948 she was the flagship of Admiral Forrest Sherman, command of the Sixth Fleet. She was relieved on 14 June and returned to the US and another spell of reserve training.

Late in 1948 she was modernised, giving her the ability to operate helicopters. She operated off the US East Coast until the start of 1950 when she was transferred to the West Coast. Her home base for the next few years would be Long Beach, California.

In April 1950 the Rochester left for the Pacific. She carried Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet on a tour of the US Trust Territories, then took on Vice Admiral A.D. Struble, Commander of the 7th Fleet before heading to the Philippines.

She was thus in the Pacific when the Korean War broke out. She formed part of Carrier Task Force 77 and was part of the carrier screen during the first UN carrier air attacks on 3 July 1950. On 18-19 July she took part in the battle of Pohang Dong, one of the key clashes in the fighting around the Pusan, supporting the 1st Cavalry Division. She remained with TF 77 until 25 August.

The Rochester then moved to the west coast, where on 13 September she supported the landings at Inchon, the port of Seoul.

From October to December the Rochester served off the east coast, especially in the area around Wonsan. By the end of her first tour of duty in Korea she had fired 3,265 8in shells and 2,339 5in shells and travelled on 25,000 miles. She returned to the US in January 1951 and began a five month long overhaul.

Her second tour of duty off Korea began in November 1951. On 28 November she fired 250 rounds at North Korean positions around Kosong. From then until the end of March she served off the north-eastern coast. In April she served as the flagship of the Blockading and Escorting Forces on the west coast, and she then returned to Long Beach.

Her third tour began in December 1952 when she joined Task Group 77.1 (Support Group), off the east coast of Korea. This tour was spent supporting the Fast Carrier Task Force, with some shore bombardment missions. She left for home on 6 April 1953. 

During her refit after this tour the Rochester was modernised by having her 20mm and 40mm anti-aircraft guns replaced with 3in/50 rapid-fire guns.

By the time she was ready to return to the Pacific the Korean War was over. Her fourth West Pacific deployment (January-May 1954) was thus a peacetime tour, dominated by training exercises and showing-the-flag visits to Pacific ports. The same was true for her fifth tour (February-August 1955), sixth tour (May-December 1956), seventh tour (September 1957-March 1958), eighth tour (January-June 1959) and ninth and final tour (April-October 1960).

Between these tours the Rochester was used as the flagship for Admiral Nimitz when he reviewed the 1st Fleet in June 1957.

The Rochester was decommissioned on 15 August 1961, struck off the Navy List on 1 October 1973 and sold for scrap in September 1974.

Displacement (standard)

14,472t

Displacement (loaded)

17,031t

Top Speed

33kts

Range

10,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

4-6in

 - armour deck

2.5in

 - barbettes

6.3in

 - turrets

8in face
3in roof
2-3.75in sides
1.5 rear

 - conning tower

6in
3in roof

 - underwater magazines

3in side
2.5in deck

Length

673ft 5in oa

Armaments

Nine 8in guns (three triple turrets)
Twelve 5in/38 guns (six double positions)
Forty eight 40mm guns (11x4, 2x2)
Twenty four 20mm guns
Four aircraft

Crew complement

2039

Laid down

29 May 1944

Launched

28 August 1945

Completed

20 December 1946

Stricken

1 October 1973

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 March 2015), USS Rochester (CA-124) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_USS_Rochester_CA124.html

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