USS Colorado (BB-45) (1923-1947)
USS Colorado (BB-45), lead ship of her class, displaced 32,600 tons with a length of 624 feet. She was launched 22 March 1921 by New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N. J., sponsored by Mrs. M. Melville; and commissioned 30 August 1923, Captain R. R. Belknap in command.
Colorado sailed from New York 29 December 1923 on a maiden voyage that took her to Portsmouth, England; Cherbourg and Villefranche, France; Naples, Italy; and Gibraltar before returning to New York 15 February 1924. After repairs and final tests she sailed for the west coast 11 July and arrived at San Francisco 15 September 1924.
From 1924 to 1941 Colorado operated with the Battle Fleet in the Pacific, participating in fleet exercises and various ceremonies, and returning to the east coast from time to time for fleet problems in the Caribbean. She also cruised to Samoa, Australia and New Zealand (8 June-26 September 1925) to show the flag in the far Pacific. She aided in earthquake relief at Long Beach, Calif., from 10 to 11 March 1933 and during an NROTC cruise from 11 June to 22 July 1937 she assisted in the search for the missing Amelia Earhart.
Based on Pearl Harbor from 27 January 1941, Colorado operated in the Hawaiian training area in intensive exercises and war games until 25 June when she departed for the west coast and overhaul at Puget Sound Navy Yard which lasted until 31 March 1942.
After west coast training, Colorado returned to Pearl Harbor 14 August 1942 to complete her preparations for action. She operated in the vicinity of the Fiji Islands and New Hebrides from 8 November 1942 to 17 September 1943 to prevent further Japanese expansion. She sortied from Pearl Harbor 21 October to provide preinvasion bombardment and fire support for the invasion of Tarawa returning to port 7 December 1943. After west coast overhaul, Colorado returned to Lahaina Roads, Hawaiian Islands, 21 January 1944 and sortied the next day for the Marshall Islands operation, providing preinvasion bombardment and fire support for the invasions of Kwajalein and Eniwetok until 23 February when she headed for Puget Sound Navy Yard and overhaul.
Joining other units bound for the Mariana Islands operation at San Francisco, Colorado sailed on 5 May 1944 by way of Pearl Harbor and Kwajalein for preinvasion bombardment and fire support duties at Saipan, Guam, and Tinian from 14 June. On 24 July during the shelling of Tinian, Colorado received 22 shell hits from shore batteries but continued to support the invading troops until 3 August. After repairs on the west coast, Colorado arrived in Leyte Gulf 20 November 1944 to support American troops fighting ashore. A week later she was hit by two kamikazes which killed 19 of her men, wounded 72, and caused moderate damage. Nevertheless as planned she bombarded Mindoro between 12 and 17 December before proceeding to Manus Island for emergency repairs. Returning to Luzon 1 January 1945, she participated in the preinvasion bombardments in Lingayen Gulf. On 9 January accidental gunfire hit her superstructure killing 18 and wounding 51.
After replenishing at Ulithi, Colorado joined the preinvasion bombardment group at Kerama Retto 25 March 1945 for the invasion of Okinawa. She remained there supplying fire support until 22 May when she cleared for Leyte Gulf.
Returning to occupied Okinawa 6 August 1945, Colorado sailed from there for the occupation of Japan, covering the airborne landings at Atsugi Airfield, Tokyo. 27 August. She was moored alongside USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the surrender of Japan. Departing Tokyo Bay 20 September 1945 she arrived at San Francisco 15 October, then steamed to Seattle for the Navy Day celebration 27 October. Assigned to "Magic Carpet" duty she made three runs to Pearl Harbor to transport 6,357 veterans home before reporting to Bremerton Navy Yard for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve there 7 January 1947, and sold for scrapping 23 July 1959.
USS Colorado (ACR-7) (CA-7) (1905-1927)
The second USS Colorado was an Armored Cruiser of the 13,900 ton Pennsylvania class and was commissioned in 1905. After initial operation on the east coast she served in the Pacific alternating between the Asiatic Station and the eastern Pacific.
Between August and November 1912, she sailed to land and support expeditionary troops at Corinto, Nicaragua, then patrolled Mexican waters. After a period of inactivation, she later serving as flagship of the Pacific Reserve Fleet, patrolling in Mexican waters during the revolution and then returned to reserve status.
She was renamed Pueblo on 9 November 1916 to free up the name for the new battleship Colorado. After a yard period she returned to Mexico, to blockade interned German ships. After the start of WWI she served as flagship of the Scouting Force patrolled the South Atlantic, protecting shipping, paying diplomatic calls to South American ports, and preventing the sailing of German and Austrian ships interned at Bahia, Brazil. Later made seven voyages to escort convoys carrying men and supplies to England. At the end of the war she made six voyages to bring American veterans of the American Expeditionary Force home. She was placed in reduced commission and then decommissioned in September 1919. She was reactivated and served again as receiving ship in the 3d Naval District from 1921 to 1927.
USS Colorado (1858-1876)
The first USS Colorado was a 3,500 ton three-masted steam frigate commissioned in 1858 and named after the Colorado River. During the Civil War she participated in the Union Navy’s Gulf Blockading Squadron. She participated in the first Naval engagement of the Civil war when she attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida. She captured several vessels and engaged four Confederate steamers.
In October 1864, she joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron and cruised off the coast of North Carolina until 26 January 1865. During Colorado’s participation in the bombardment and capture of Fort Fisher from 13 to 15 January 1865, she was struck six times by enemy fire which killed one man and wounded two.
After the war she served as flagship of the European Squadron from 1865 until 1867 and from 1870 to 1873 as flagship for the RADM Rodgers squadron on the Asiatic Station. During this time she came under an unprovoked attack by Korean shore batteries then participated in a punitive expedition destroying the forts. She arrived back in New York in 1873 and after a period of decommission sailed the North Atlantic Station after which she was decommissioned for the last time in 1876.
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