Unit Details

USS Helena (CA-75)

NavSource Online: Cruiser Photo Archive

USS HELENA (CA 75)

USN_Units


USN_Units 
Image courtesy of Al Grazevich


USN_Units  USN_Units  USN_Units  USN_Units
Flag Hoist/Radio Call Sign: November - Uniform - Delta - Romeo
Voice Call Sign: Gladiator

USN_Units
Patch image contributed by Mike Smolinski
CLASS - BALTIMORE
Displacement 13,600 Tons, Dimensions, 673' 5" (oa) x 70' 10" x 26' 10" (Max)
Armament 9 x 8"/55, 12 x 5"/38AA, 48 x 40mm, 24 x 20mm, 4 Aircraft
Armor, 6" Belt, 8" Turrets, 2 1/2" Deck, 6 1/2" Conning Tower.
Machinery, 120,000 SHP; G. E. Geared Turbines, 4 screws
Speed, 33 Knots, Crew 2000.
Operational and Building Data
Launched 28 APR 1945
Commissioned 04 SEP 1945
Decommissioned 29 JUN 1963
Stricken 1 JAN 1974
Fate: Sold for scrap 03 NOV 1974
USN_Units
Patch image contributed by Mike Smolinski

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

USN_Units

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - China Service Medal - WWII Occupation Service medal
Second Row - National Defense Service Medal - Korean Service Medal (5) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Third Row - Republic Of Korea Presidential Unit Citation - United Nations Korean Service Medal - Republic Of Korean War Service Medal


Click On Image 
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
By And/Or Copyright
USN_Units 122k Undated photograph of Port bow. . USN
USN_Units 77k

USS Helena (CA 75) Underway in Boston Harbor on 3 September 1945, the day before she was placed in commission. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95817.

USNHC
USN_Units 109k

USS Helena (CA 75) Underway in Quincy Bay, Massachusetts, on 3 September 1945, the day before she was placed in commission. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95818.

USNHC
USN_Units 145k

USS Helena (CA 75) In Quincy Bay, Massachusetts, on 3 September 1945, the day before she was placed in commission. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. #NH 95819.

USNHC
USN_Units 70k

USS Helena (CA 75) Off the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts, 22 October 1945. Her name has been painted on her side in preparation for the Navy Day Fleet Review at New York City on 27 October. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95820.

USNHC
USN_Units 77k

USS Helena (CA 75) Probably photographed in the Hudson River, off New York City, during the Navy Day Naval Review, circa 27 October 1945. Courtesy of Donald M. McPherson, 1969.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 67682.

USNHC
USN_Units 138k

USS Helena fires a broadside from her 8"/55 main battery at Chongjin, North Korea, on 12-13 OCT 1950. At the time this was Helena's Northernmost Korean War combat mission.

Naval Historical Center Photo #NH 95822.

USNHC
USN_Units
0407525
84k
Off Korea, on 15 October 1950. Note the Sikorsky HO3S-1 helicopter, belonging to Squadron HU-1 taking off with observers to spot for Helena's guns.
Robert Hurst
USN_Units
0407522
102k

Helena conducting UNREP operations from an unknown (possibily USS Zelima (AF 48)) ship in November 1951 off of Korea. This photo was taken from the USS Los Angeles (CA 135)

From the collection of N.A. "Stretch" Brown (forwarded by Carol Edgemon Hipperson author ofRadioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor & World War II in the Pacific).

Carol Edgemon
USN_Units
09050420
280k

USS Mount Baker (AE 4) conducting an underway replenishment with the cruiser USS Helena (CA 75) and the aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CVA 37), in 1952 off Korea.

US Navy photo Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum File AE 4 139X2-7-52 TH.

Darryl Baker
USN_Units 142k Port side view while on the "Bomb Line" off the coast of Korea, in the Sea of Japan , late 1952. Photo taken from the USS O'Brian (DD 725)USS Helena's ASW Screen. Roy C. Thomas
USN_Units 111k Starboard side view while on the "Bomb Line" off the coast of Korea, in the Sea of Japan , late 1952. Photo taken from the USS O'Brian (DD 725)USS Helena's ASW Screen. Roy C. Thomas
USN_Units 183k Starboard quarter view while on the "Bomb Line" off the coast of Korea, in the Sea of Japan , late 1952. Photo taken from the USS O'Brian (DD 725)USS Helena's ASW Screen. Roy C. Thomas
USN_Units 151k Starboard side view while on the "Bomb Line" off the coast of Korea, in the Sea of Japan , late 1952. Photo taken from the USS O'Brian (DD 725)USS Helena's ASW Screen. Roy C. Thomas
USN_Units 139k Port side view while on the "Bomb Line" off the coast of Korea, in the Sea of Japan , late 1952. Photo taken from the USS O'Brian (DD 725)USS Helena's ASW Screen. Roy C. Thomas
USN_Units 45k

USS Helena (CA 75) In Apra Harbor, Guam, December 1952, while en route to the U.S. following her third Korean War combat tour. During this voyage, she carried President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower and his party from Guam to Pearl Harbor. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95821.

USNHC
USN_Units
0407520
139k Port bow view, 1953, location unknown. Note the port stern AA guntub has been removed. David Buell
USN_Units
0413318
208k An aerial view of Yokosuka sometime between 1954 and 1955. Ships pictured from front are: USS Princeton (CVS-37)USS Toledo (CA 133)USS Los Angeles (CA 135)USS Rochester (CA 124), and USS Helena (CA 75). This was about 1/4 of the active Cruisers for that period. BMCS Richard Miller USN (Ret.)
USN_Units 123k

USS Helena (CA 75) With a Regulus I guided missile on her fantail being readied for firing during tests off Monterey, California, in early 1957. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, James C. Fahey Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95824.

USNHC
USN_Units 50k

USS Helena (CA 75) Underway in January 1957, with a Regulus I guided missile on her fantail launching platform. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Institute, "Our Navy" Collection.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 95823.

USNHC
USN_Units
0407527
116k Regulus I launching from the stern platform in 1957 U. S. Navy
USN_Units
0407518
1950k

USS Helena (CA 75) underway in San Francisco Bay, 1958.

Photo by Allied Photographers of San Francisco.

Robert M. Cieri
USN_Units
0407524
244k

Los Angeles Examiner (7 July 1958) - Thirty-two members of cruiser Helena (CL 75) who saved life of heart surgery victim by giving blood award. Their blood saved the life of heart surgery victim. 32 members of the heavy cruiser Helena form "V" around a regulus on the fantail of the Helena after they had been given Red Cross special citation. The operation was successful. Entire crew witnessed ceremonies in which Rear Admiral M.H. Hubbard, commander Cruiser Division 3, presented the citation and shook hands with the men.

The ship in the background is the USS Wikinson (DL 5) with her forward 5"/54, 3"/50 and Weapon Alpha mounts visible.

From the USC Libraries Special Collections Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA

Bill Gonyo
USN_Units
0407523
260k AP Photo date stamped 1958 AUG 7 showing 3"/50 gun crew and signal bridge/FlagBag area. (Caption on back) - (FX2-Sept.7)-WATCH VAPOR TRAILS OVER QUEMOY--U.S.sailors aboard the United States cruiser Helena, at battle stations while escorting Chinese Nationalist ships in the touchy Quemoy Island area, scan sky after vapor trails were sighted overhead. Planes were later identified as friendly. (AP Wirephoto via radio from Taipei via Tokyo)(bill00stf-rt) 1958 Tommy Trampp
USN_Units
0407528
 

Regulus Missile - October 1959

 

Robert Tome
USN_Units
0407529
  Regulus Missile - October 1959 Robert Tome
USN_Units
0407530
  Stern rigged for underway - October 1959. Note the HUP-2 helicopter lashed to the deck to starboard of the Hanger hatch. Robert Tome
USN_Units
0407521
119k Port side aerial view while underway sometime between 1960 - 1962, location unknown. From the follection of Darrell Robertson David Robertson
USN_Units
0407519
349k USS Helena (CA 75) Underway in late 1960, with a Regulus I guided missile on her fantail launching platform. David Buell
USN_Units 121k

USS Helena (CA 75) At Hong Kong in 1961-62.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center #NH 96899.

USNHC
USN_Units 114k

USS Helena (CA 75) At sea in 1961-62, following modernization with a new foremast supporting the very large antenna for SPS-43 radar.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center #NH 96900.

USNHC

Commanding Officers
Name/Rank Class Final Rank Dates
McCollum, Arthur Howard., CAPT   RADM 09/04/1945 - 10/05/1946
Blue, Robert Eugene, CAPT     10/05/1946 - 07/15/1947
Wendt, Waldemar Frederick August, CDR   ADM 07/15/1947 - 08/07/1947
Burford, William Page., CAPT     08/07/1947 - 08/03/1948
Towner Sr., George Crosby, CAPT   VADM 08/03/1948 - 09/24/1949
Collins, Howard Lyman, CAPT   RADM 09/24/1949 - 07/12/1950
Larson, Harold Oscar. (Swede), CAPT   VADM 07/12/1950 - 08/02/1951
Martin, Lawrence H., CAPT     08/02/1951 - 01/19/1952
Dyer, Walter Leo., CAPT   RADM 01/19/1952 - 02/06/1953
Cohn, James Edward, CAPT   RADM 02/06/1953 - 06/11/1954
Adamson, Frank Marshall, CAPT   RADM 06/11/1954 - 07/22/1955
Smith, Harry, CAPT   RADM 07/22/1955 - 10/06/1956
Spring, Arthur Finn, CAPT   RADM 10/06/1956 - 12/07/1957
Lay, James Thomas., CAPT     12/07/1957 - 03/05/1959
Johnson, Nels Clarence, CAPT   VADM 03/05/1959 - 04/1960
Kauffman, Draper Laurence, CAPT   RADM 04/1960 - 02/04/1961
Abhau, William Conrad, CAPT   RADM 02/04/1961 - 12/31/1962
Bagby Jr., Oliver Walton, CAPT 1938   12/31/1962 - 06/29/1963

 

Helena III (CA-75)

1945-1974

USN_Units


Observers depart USS Helena (CA-75) to spot gun fire in Korea 15 October 1950.(CA-75; dp. 13,600; l. 674'11" ; b. 70'10" ; dr. 20'6" ; s. 33 k.; cpl. 1,142; a. 9 8" ; 12 5", 48 40mm., 22 20mm.; cl.Baltimore)

In following the direction of Resolution VII, signed 3 March 1819 during the second session of the Fifteenth Congress of the United States, which stated that U.S. Navy ships of the "third class" be named "after the principle cities and towns," the gunboat and two cruisers were each named for Helena, capital city of Montana.

_________

The name Helena was assigned to CL-113, but construction on that hull was cancelled 5 October 1944.

 _________

 

III

The third Helena received her name while building after the cancellation of CL-113; was launched at Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., 28 April 1945, sponsored by Mrs. John T. Haytin, wife of the mayor of Helena; and commissioned 4 September 1945, Captain A. H. McCollum in command.

Helena completed her outfitting in the Boston area and sailed 24 October 1945, arriving New York City the next day to take part in the tremendous celebration of the Navy's role in World War II victory that marked Navy Day, 27 October 1945. After two shakedown/training periods at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Helena returned to Boston in February 1945 to prepare for her first deployment, a round-the-world cruise. Helena sailed from Boston 12 February 1946 for England where Admiral H. Kent Hewitt boarded and broke his flag as Commander Naval Forces, Europe, and Commander 12th Fleet. During the next 3 months, Helena conducted training exercises in Northern European waters and paid good-will visits to major ports in England and Scotland.

Relieved as flagship 1 May 1946, Helena sailed for the Far East via the Suez Canal, calling at major Mediterranean ports, Colombo, Ceylon, Singapore, and arriving Tsingtao 18 June 1946. During her tour in the Far East, Helena took part in a wide variety of training exercises and fleet maneuvers until she finally departed Shanghai 22 March 1947 for home after more than a year in foreign waters.

After training operations in California waters Helena departed once more for the Far East 3 April 1948, arriving Shanghai 24 days later. Throughout the summer and fall of 1948, she operated primarily in Chinese waters, returning to Long Beach December 1948.

Helena spent much of the spring of 1949 in training a new crew and in May cruised to train Naval Reservists, returning to Long Beach for a conversion necessary to equip her to carry a helicopter. During July and August 1949,Helena took part in a 6-week at sea training cruise for men of the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps to the Galapagos Islands and Panama. She then took part in Operation "Miki," a joint Army-Navy amphibious training exercise in the Hawaiian Islands conducted in November.

Helena then proceeded via Yokosuka and Hong Kong to the Philippines where she conducted training exercises.

January 1950

She returned to Japan in January 1950, and soon after experienced the highlights of her service as flagship of the 7th Fleet when the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then touring the Far East, embarked 2 February 1951. During the remainder of her Far Eastern tour she carried out a schedule of large scale fleet exercises off Okinawa, and visits to Japanese ports. She departed for the United States 21 May 1950.

Helena's schedule called for a summer spent in Long Beach, followed by overhaul at San Francisco.

June 25, 1950

Suddenly came word of the communist aggression in Korea.

July 6, 1950

Hurriedly she prepared for sea; and, on 6 July 1950, sped westward. Stopping at Pearl Harbor only to take on ammunition, she plowed across the Pacific and into action on the east coast of Korea.

August 7, 1950

On 7 August, she first unleashed her guns on an enemy target-the railroad marshaling yards, trains, and power plant near Tanch'ŏn.

Serving as flagship of the Bombardment Task Group, Helena pounded enemy positions, aiding immeasurably in keeping the invaders off balance and preventing them from mounting a formidable drive, as United Nations forces prepared to take the offensive.

August 1, 1950

The carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) had left San Diego on the 6th; after ten days concentrated training in the Hawaiian area she had steamed westward at speed to reach Buckner Bay on 1 August. Admiral Hartman’s cruisers and destroyers had reported in to ComNavFE, and although USS Helena (CA-75) and the destroyer division had been sent to Formosa, this detachment was only temporary. Since 8-inch guns were more useful in action in Korea than on patrol in Formosa Strait, Admiral Struble formed Task Group 77.3, composed of USS Juneau (CLAA-119), the destroyers USS SAMUEL N. MOORE (DD-747) and USS Maddox (DD-731), and the oiler USS Cimarron (AO-22), and sent it south to relieve the Helena group. On 1 August, after five days in the Formosa area, Admiral Hartman headed north again, and on the 7th was bombarding the North Korean coast.

19500801 0000 0506usnops0

The carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) had left San Diego on the 6th; after ten days concentrated training in the Hawaiian area she had steamed westward at speed to reach Buckner Bay on 1 August. Admiral Hartman’s cruisers and destroyers had reported in to ComNavFE, and although USS Helena (CA-75) and the destroyer division had been sent to Formosa, this detachment was only temporary. Since 8-inch guns were more useful in action in Korea than on patrol in Formosa Strait, Admiral Struble formed Task Group 77.3, composed of USS Juneau (CLAA-119), the destroyers USS SAMUEL N. MOORE (DD-747) and USS Maddox (DD-731), and the oiler USS Cimarron (AO-22), and sent it south to relieve the Helena group. On 1 August, after five days in the Formosa area, Admiral Hartman headed north again, and on the 7th was bombarding the North Korean coast.

19500801 0000 0506usnops0

August 4, 1950

On 4 August, the task element joined Air Force fighters in a combined air-sea strike on an enemy-held village near Yŏngdök.

The following day, her 8 inch guns, directed by airborne controllers, rendered call-fire for the front-line troops. USS Toledo (CA-133) then moved some 70 miles north to the area around Samch'ŏk where she cruised along a 25-mile stretch of coastline and shelled a number of targets. During that interdiction run, she demolished a bridge, chewed up highway intersections, and generally wreaked havoc on communist supply lines. On the 6th, USS Helena (CA-75) relieved Toledo, enabling her to return to Sasebo for upkeep.

19500804 0000 USS Toledo

August 6, 1950

On the 6th, USS Helena (CA-75) relieved USS Toledo (CA-133), enabling her to return to Sasebo for upkeep.

19500806 0000 USS Toledo

August 7, 1950

The bombardment of the town of Tanch'ŏn in 40°28', carried out by USS Helena (CA-75) and Destroyer Division 111 on 7 August, marked the furthest north for U.N. surface forces since USS Juneau (CLAA-119) early raid. Located a couple of miles up an estuary at the point where two rivers join, Tanch'ŏn offered tempting rail and highway bridge targets, a marshaling yard, and some minor industrial facilities. With a VP 6 [Patrol SQUADRON SIX VP-6 “The World Famous Blue Sharks” (1943-1993) PATRON SIX] spotting plane overhead, the force shot up boxcars in the yard and the town power plants, and inflicted a satisfactory 75 percent damage on the railroad bridge. The only excitement of the day was provided by the late arrival of a four-plane combat air patrol from Fifth Air Force, which showed no IFF and was only identified visually after batteries had been released.

19500807 0000 0602usnops0

On 7 August the USS Helena (CA-75) group, en route to relieve off Yŏngdök, had bombarded Tanch'ŏn.

19500807 0000 0603usnops0

An afternoon dispatch from Admiral Joy suggested that, subject to especially urgent need for close support, the carriers strike coastal targets in Area F, between Ch'ŏngjin and Hungnam, where many trains and much rolling stock had been recently reported, and where USS Helena (CA-75) was currently shooting up Tanch'ŏn.

19500807 1300 0602usnops0

Having applied this pressure to the northeastern artery, the USS Helena (CA-75) group came southward during the night, and on the next day dropped a highway and a rail bridge near Sokch'o, just above the 38th parallel. This work completed, Admiral Hartman relieved Admiral Higgins of his fire support responsibilities off Yŏngdök, and the Toledo group headed for Sasebo to replenish.

19500807 2000 0602usnops0

August 8, 1950

Having applied this pressure to the northeastern artery, the USS Helena (CA-75) group came southward during the night, and on the next day [Aug 8] dropped a highway and a rail bridge near Sokch'o-ri, just above the 38th parallel. This work completed, Admiral Hartman relieved Admiral Higgins of his fire support responsibilities off Yŏngdök, and the Toledo group headed for Sasebo to replenish.

19500808 0000 0602usnops0

August 10, 1950

As soon as Eighth Army learned that enemy forces had cut off the ROK 3rd Division above P'ohang-dong, General Walker instructed Colonel Emmerich to meet him at Yŏnil Airfield. Emmerich radioed to the American cruiser USS Helena (CA-75), offshore, for a helicopter to fly him to the airstrip, where he met General Walker, General Partridge, and Brig. Gen. Francis W. Farrell, Chief of KMAG.

19500810 0000 18sn

August 11, 1950

on the 11th heavy demands were made upon the fire support ships south of Yŏngdök. USS Helena (CA-75) got four tanks this day, as her helicopter was flying KMAG personnel to P'ohang to confer with General Walker, but naval gunfire was not enough.

19500811 0000 0603usnops0

August 12, 1950

The principal fire support for the shrinking ROK perimeter came from the cruiser USS Helena (CA-75) and three destroyers offshore, and from the Fifth Air Force. A tactical air control party and artillery observers directed air strikes and naval gunfire at critical points on the perimeter. Two helicopters from the Helena brought medical supplies for the Korean wounded. [18-25]

19500813 0000 18sn

August 13, 1950

Little beyond naval gunfire and strikes by Air Force planes remained available for the defense of P'ohang. Yet although the former was handicapped by the withdrawal of fire control personnel ashore, and although the latter were preparing to evacuate that very day, the intensity of these efforts forced the enemy to retire temporarily on the afternoon of the 13th. But so serious was the Communist threat that an emergency call was made for reinforcements. To defend the airfield American tanks and infantry and an ROK regiment were hurried north; to prevent a major breakthrough, much of EUSAK’s scant reserve was ordered up to Yŏngju. But the advancing columns became entangled on the way with infiltrators disguised as refugees, and progress was slow.

Such, however, was the importance attached to the east coast railroad that, in the midst of the P'ohang crisis, USS Helena (CA-75) and two destroyers were withdrawn to bombard the bridges and tunnels at Sinchang in the north.

19500813 0000 0603usnops0

 

September 15, 1950

Operations such as hers provided the diversion necessary to cover the powerful amphibious assault into Inchon, 15 September 1950, Later, Helena provided gunfire support for Korean troops pushing the invaders north along the east coast, and it was Helena's, concentrated firepower that aided in creating a diversion at Samchok, and in the recapture of Pohang.

Valuable as she was in Korean waters, Helena, could no longer put off overhaul and in November 1950 she arrived at Long Beach to prepare for the now twice-postponed yard period.

April 18, 1951

After her overhaul, she reported for duty at Sasebo 18 April 1951, and was assigned to Task Force 77, the fast carrier group making daily air strikes against the enemy. While operating as heavy support for the carriers, Helenawas often detached to pound shore targets.

June 1951

During June 1951, she was occupied almost continually in interdiction fire at targets along the east coast of Korea, then returned to the Task Force, At twilight on a day late in July, Helenawas straddled, then hit by shore gunfire. Damage was light, and swiftly twisting around the harbor in the maneuver which came to be called "the war dance", Helena delivered rapid continuous fire that destroyed seven enemy gun positions and an ammunition dump. After a short respite at Yokosuka, she returned again to the Task Force, but was soon detached for special duty supporting a massive air strike on supply depots and rail road marshalling yards at Rashin, acting as radar picket.

Helena's accurate gunnery was next sought by the 8th Army, for whom she fired at 13 targets along the bombline in aid of advancing infantry. Her support to ground farces continued with missions fired for United States Marines and Korean Army units.

October 20, 1951

On 20 September 1951 she returned to Yokosuka. Here, at a ceremony on her decks, President Syngman Rhee of Korea presented to Task Force 95 the first Korean Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a naval unit. Helena received the award for her operations in the fall of 1950.

After rejoining the Task Force, Helena was ordered to duty as fire support vessel in the Hungnam-Hamhung area. With her helicopter providing its usual efficient spotting, she fired with great success on rail and highway bridges, marshalling yards and gun positions for the next 2 weeks.

December 8, 1951

Helena returned to Long Beach 8 December 1951 and her entire battery of nine 8-inch guns was replaced. In February, she commenced training for return to the FarEast.

February 14, 1952

One of the highlights of this training period came 14 to 23 February 1952 when she took part in "Lex Baker One", the largest scale training exercise held since the outbreak of the Korean war. Over 70 ships and 15,000 Sailors and Marines took active part in this operation.

June 8, 1952

Helena arrived once again at Yokosuka 8 June 1952 and the next day was underway to rendezvous with Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea. For 5 months her mission again was to burn buildings, destroy gun positions, and smash transportation facilities; all were left in her wake after shore bombardments. She also performed air rescue of pilots, two of which were deep in enemy territory.

November 24, 1952

On 24 November 1952, Helena was relieved of her normal duties at Yokosuka and 5 days later sailed on a special mission. She called first at Iwo Jima where on 1 December Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander In Chief Pacific Fleet, boarded the ship by helicopter to visit briefly. Two days later she proceeded to Guam, where President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, with several of his prospective cabinet members, and Admiral Radford embarked for passage to Pearl Harbor. Top-level policy conferences were held on board. 

December 11, 1952

Helena's distinguished passengers disembarked at Pearl Harbor 11 December 1952 and she returned to Long Beach 16 December.

August 4, 1953

Helena departed for the Far East 4 August 1953 to join Task Force 77 on security patrol in the Sea of Japan and after another voyage to the United States for upkeep and training, rejoined the 7th Fleet at Yokosuka as flagship on 11 October 1954. Helena spent much of her time in waters off Taiwan. The highlights of Helena's service during this tour of duty came in February 1955 during the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. These off-shore islands posed a possible point of contention between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese; and it was determined to neutralize them by means of evacuation. On 6 February came the "execute" from President Eisenhower, and the fleet, led by Helena, got underway. By 1500 on 9 February 1955, with Helena on watchful patrol, all civilians had been removed to safety from the islands-a total of 18,000 people. Early on 12 February the remaining 20,000 Nationalist troops were removed and, as Helena steamed on rear guard patrol, the Task Force sailed south.

After 6 months' training in home waters, Helena again sailed for Yokosuka, arriving 25 January 1956. During the 6 months of this tour of duty, she once more operated primarily in the Taiwan area and briefly in Philippine waters on exercises. She returned to Long Beach 8 July.

Exercises, which included firing of the Regulus I missile from Helena's launching gear, continued for 9 months ; then she headed for another Far East tour 10 April 1957. During the ensuing tour of duty, she played her flagship role fully, combining sea power and diplomacy.

Helena returned to Long Beach 19 October. Following major overhaul completed 31 March 1958 and intensive training, including missile launching, she again sailed west.

Helena's 1958 cruise in the Far East began 3 August. Her first port of call was Keelung, Taiwan, arriving 21 August. Next day students and faculty of the Taiwan National Defense College were received on board for a tour of the ship. Her schedule next called for a visit to Manila, but the crisis brought on by the Chinese Communist shelling of the off-shore islands governed by the Nationalists interrupted normal operations.

During the next weeks, Helena patrolled the troubled area. On 7 September she steamed to within 10 miles of the Chinese mainland, covering Chinese Nationalist supply ships replenishing Quemoy Island. While on this duty, she was illustrating once more the fact that the mere presence of the overwhelming naval strength of the United States is one of the most formidable protections the free world has in determining such aggression.

On 9 October 1958, while off the Philippines, word flashed to Helena to proceed to the aid of a stricken Norwegian merchant vessel, Hoi Wong, aground on Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands. Helena reached the sceneat 1000, 10 October 1958. Her helicopters rescued men, women and children, whom she transported to Hong Kong. Her men had skillfully and courageously carried out a difficult humanitarian mission, another contribution to strengthening American relationships with Asian nations. Helena resumed patrol and readiness operations until her return to Long Beach 17 February 1959.

On 5 January 1960 Helena departed for the Western Pacific in company with Yorktown and her escort of Destroyer Squadron 23. Visits to Korea and to Taiwan prefaced her participation in Operation "Blue Star," one of the largest peacetime amphibious exercises in our history.

After a period in Japan, Helena sailed with Ranger and Saint Paul to Guam. On 24 April 1960, Helena, in company with destroyers Taylor and Jenkins, set sail for Australia. She then returned to Long Beach and from June until November underwent extensive overhaul. In mid-January 1961 she became the permanent flagship of Commander, 1st Fleet.

On 17 May 1961, led by the Helena, 12 1st Fleet ships put on a firepower demonstration for more than 700 members of the American Ordnance Association. In June, Helena, with eight guests of the Secretary of the Navy on board, cruised to Portland, Oreg., for the Rose Festival.

During the next months, Helena joined in Exercise "Tail Wind," rendezvousing with cruiser Los Angeles, the guided missile frigate Coonte and their destroyer escort to form the largest "Fleet Sail" in 4 years. Helena visited major ports of the Far East, rode out Typhoon Olga off Hong Kong, then returned to San Diego 6 October, soon to participate in Exercise "Covered Wagon." During the remainder of the year, Helena participated in a major fleet demonstration observed by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson. Her last operations of the year was Exercise "Black Bear."

During 1961 and 1962, Helena, operated in West Coast and western Pacific waters, taking part in several amphibious operations with ships of the 1st Fleet and elements of the 1st Marine Division and 3d Marine Air Wing.Helena embarked foreign and staff officers from the Naval War College March 1962, and two groups of Navy League members on orientation cruises in June and August.

As the year ended, Helena was scheduled for inactivation at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. On 18 March 1963, Commander 1st Fleet shifted his flag to Saint Paul. Helena was placed out of commission in Reserve 29 June 1963.Helena was transferred in June 1963 to San Diego, Calif., where she remained until struck from the Navy list on 1 January 1974 and sold for scrap on 1 October 1974.

For her service in the Korean conflict, she was presented the Presidential Unit Citation of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Service Medal with four stars.

 

25 October 2005

Published:Wed Jul 15 08:51:45 EDT 2015

 

 

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

USN_Units

USN_Units


Career (United States of America)
Operator: United States Navy
Launched: 28 April 1945
Commissioned: 4 September 1945
Decommissioned: 29 June 1963
Struck: 1 January 1974
Fate: Scrapped 13 November 1974


General characteristics
Displacement: 13,600 tons
Length: 674 ft 11 in (206 m)
Beam: 70 ft 10 in (22 m)
Draft: 20 ft 6 in (6 m)
Speed: 33 knots (38.0 mph; 61.1 km/h)
Complement: 1,142
Armament: 9 x 8"/55 caliber guns
12 x 5"/38 caliber guns
48 x 40 mm guns
22 x 20 mm guns


The USS Helena (CA-75), a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Helena, Montana. She was named Helena while building after the cancellation of CL-113.


Launched at Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Massachusetts on 28 April 1945, sponsored by Mrs. John T. Haytin, wife of the mayor of Helena; and commissioned 4 September 1945, Captain Arthur Howard McCollum in command.



1940s


Helena completed her outfitting in the Boston area and sailed 24 October 1945, arriving New York City the next day to take part in the tremendous celebration of the Navy's role in World War II victory that marked Navy Day, 27 October 1945. After two shakedown/training periods at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Helena returned to Boston in February 1946 to prepare for her first deployment, a round-the-world cruise. Helena sailed from Boston 12 February 1946 for England where Admiral H. Kent Hewitt boarded and broke his flag as Commander Naval Forces, Europe, and Commander 12th Fleet. During the next 3 months, Helena conducted training exercises in Northern European waters and paid good-will visits to major ports in England and Scotland.


Relieved as flagship 1 May 1946, Helena sailed for the Far East via the Suez Canal, calling at major Mediterranean ports, Colombo, Ceylon, Singapore, and arriving Tsingtao 18 June 1946. During her tour in the Far East, Helena took part in a wide variety of training exercises and fleet maneuvers until she finally departed Shanghai 22 March 1947 for home after more than a year in foreign waters.


After training operations in California waters Helena departed once more for the Far East 3 April 1948, arriving Shanghai 24 days later. Throughout the summer and fall of 1948, she operated primarily in Chinese waters, returning to Long Beach December 1948.


Helena spent much of the spring of 1949 in training a new crew and in May cruised to train Naval Reservists, returning to Long Beach for a conversion necessary to equip her to carry a helicopter. During July and August 1949, Helena took part in a 6-week at sea training cruise for men of the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps to the Galapagos Islands and Panama. She then took part in Operation Miki, a joint Army-Navy amphibious training exercise in the Hawaiian Islands conducted in November.


Helena then proceeded via Yokosuka and Hong Kong to the Philippines where she conducted training exercises. She returned to Japan in January 1950, and soon after experienced the highlights of her service as flagship of the 7th Fleet when the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then touring the Far East, embarked 2 February 1950. During the remainder of her Far Eastern tour she carried out a schedule of large scale fleet exercises off Okinawa, and visits to Japanese ports. She departed for the United States 21 May 1950.


Korean War Service


Helena's schedule called for a summer spent in Long Beach, followed by overhaul at San Francisco. Suddenly came word of the communist aggression in Korea. Hurriedly she prepared for sea; and, on 6 July 1950, sped westward. Stopping at Pearl Harbor only to take on ammunition, she plowed across the Pacific and into action on the east coast of Korea. On 7 August, she first unleashed her guns on an enemy target—the railroad marshalling yards, trains, and power plant near Tanch'ŏn.


Serving as flagship of the Bombardment Task Group, Helena pounded enemy positions, aiding immeasurably in keeping the invaders off balance and preventing them from mounting a formidable drive, as United Nations forces prepared to take the offensive. Operations such as hers provided the diversion necessary to cover the powerful amphibious assault into Inch'ŏn, 15 September 1950, Later, Helena provided gunfire support for Korean troops pushing the invaders north along the east coast, and it was Helena's, concentrated firepower that aided in creating a diversion at Samchok, and in the recapture of Pohang.


Valuable as she was in Korean waters, Helena could no longer put off overhaul, and in November 1950 she arrived at Long Beach to prepare for the now twice-postponed yard period.


After her overhaul, she reported for duty at Sasebo 18 April 1951, and was assigned to Task Force 77, the fast carrier group making daily air strikes against the enemy. While operating as heavy support for the carriers, Helena was often detached to pound shore targets. During June 1951, she was occupied almost continually in interdiction fire at targets along the east coast of Korea, subsequently she returned to the Task Force, At twilight on a day late in July, Helena was straddled and then hit by shore gunfire. Damage was light, and, swiftly twisting around the harbor in the maneuver which came to be called "the war dance", Helena delivered rapid continuous fire that destroyed seven enemy gun positions and an ammunition dump. After a short respite at Yokosuka, she returned again to the Task Force, but was soon detached for special duty supporting a massive air strike on supply depots and rail road marshalling yards at Rashin, acting as radar picket.


Helena's accurate gunnery was next sought by the Eighth Army, for whom she fired at 13 targets along the bombline in aid of advancing infantry. Her support to ground forces continued with missions fired for United States Marines and Republic of Korea Army units. On 20 September 1951 she returned to Yokosuka. Here, at a ceremony on her decks, President Syngman Rhee of Korea presented to Task Force 95 the first Korean Presidential Unit Citation awarded to a naval unit. Helena received the award for her operations in the fall of 1950.


After rejoining the Task Force, Helena was ordered to duty as fire support vessel in the Hungnam-Hamhung area. With her helicopter providing its usual efficient spotting, she fired with great success on rail and highway bridges, marshalling yards and gun positions for the next 2 weeks.
Helena returned to Long Beach 8 December 1951 and her entire battery of nine 8-inch (200 mm) guns was replaced. In February, she commenced training for return to the Far East. One of the highlights of this training period came from 14 February to 23 February 1952 when she took part in "Lex Baker One", the largest scale training exercise held since the outbreak of the Korean War. Over 70 ships and 15,000 sailors and Marines took active part in this operation.


Helena arrived once again at Yokosuka 8 June 1952 and the next day was underway to rendezvous with Task Force 77 off the coast of Korea. For 5 months her mission again was to burn buildings, destroy gun positions, and smash transportation facilities; all were left in her wake after shore bombardments. She also performed air rescue of pilots, two of whom were deep in enemy territory.


On 24 November 1952, Helena was relieved of her normal duties at Yokosuka and 5 days later sailed on a special mission. She called first at Iwo Jima where on 1 December Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Commander In Chief Pacific Fleet, boarded the ship by helicopter to visit briefly. Two days later she proceeded to Guam, where President-Elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, with several of his prospective cabinet members, and Admiral Radford embarked for passage to Pearl Harbor. Top-level policy conferences were held on board. Helena's distinguished passengers disembarked at Pearl Harbor 11 December 1952, and she returned to Long Beach 16 December.


Post Korean War 1950s


Helena departed for the Far East 4 August 1953 to join Task Force 77 on security patrol in the Sea of Japan and after another voyage to the United States for upkeep and training, rejoined the 7th Fleet at Yokosuka as flagship on 11 October 1954. Helena spent much of her time in waters off Taiwan. The highlights of Helena's service during this tour of duty came in February 1955 during the evacuation of the Tachen Islands. These off-shore islands posed a possible point of contention between the Nationalist and Communist Chinese; and it was determined to neutralize them by means of evacuation. On 6 February came the "execute" from President Eisenhower, and the fleet, led by Helena, got underway. By 1500 on 9 February 1955, with Helena on watchful patrol, all civilians had been removed to safety from the islands—a total of 18,000 people. Early on 12 February the remaining 20,000 Nationalist troops were removed and, as Helena steamed on rear guard patrol, the Task Force sailed south.


After 6 months' training in home waters, Helena again sailed for Yokosuka, arriving 25 January 1956. During the 6 months of this tour of duty, she once more operated primarily in the Taiwan area and briefly in Philippine waters on exercises. She returned to Long Beach 8 July.


Exercises, which included firing of the Regulus I missile from Helena's launching gear, continued for 9 months, and then she headed for another Far East tour 10 April 1957. During the ensuing tour of duty, she played her flagship role fully, combining sea power and diplomacy.


Helena returned to Long Beach 19 October. Following a major overhaul completed 31 March 1958 and intensive training, including missile launching, she again sailed west.


Helena's 1958 cruise in the Far East began 3 August. Her first port of call was Keelung, Taiwan, arriving 21 August. On the next day, students and faculty of the Taiwan National Defense College were received on board for a tour of the ship. Her schedule next called for a visit to Manila, but the crisis brought on by the Chinese Communist shelling of the off-shore islands of Quemoy and Matsu governed by the Nationalists interrupted normal operations.


During the next weeks, Helena patrolled the troubled area. On 7 September she steamed to within 10 miles (16 km) of the Chinese mainland, covering Chinese Nationalist supply ships replenishing Quemoy Island. While on this duty, she was illustrating once more the fact that the mere presence of the overwhelming naval strength of the United States is one of the most formidable protections the free world has in deterring such aggression.


On 9 October 1958, while off the Philippines, word flashed to Helena to proceed to the aid of a stricken merchant vessel of Norwegian registry, the Hoi Wong, which had run aground on Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands. Helena reached the scene at 1000, 10 October 1958. Her helicopters rescued men, women and children, whom she transported to Hong Kong. Her men had skillfully and courageously carried out a difficult humanitarian mission, another contribution to strengthening American relationships with Asian nations. Helena resumed patrol and readiness operations until her return to Long Beach 17 February 1959.


1960s and fate


On 5 January 1960 Helena departed for the Western Pacific in company with Yorktown and her escort of Destroyer Squadron 23. Visits to Korea and to Taiwan prefaced her participation in Operation Blue Star, one of the largest peacetime amphibious exercises in our history.


After a period in Japan, Helena sailed with Ranger and Saint Paul to Guam. On 24 April 1960, Helena, in company with destroyers Taylor and Jenkins, set sail for Australia. She then returned to Long Beach and from June until November underwent extensive overhaul. In mid-January 1961 she became the permanent flagship of Commander, 1st Fleet.


On 17 May 1961, led by the Helena, 12 1st Fleet ships put on a firepower demonstration for more than 700 members of the American Ordnance Association. In June, Helena, with eight guests of the Secretary of the Navy on board, cruised to Portland, Oregon, for the Rose Festival.


During the next months, Helena joined in Exercise Tail Wind, rendezvousing with cruiser Los Angeles, the guided missile frigate Coontz and their destroyer escort to form the largest "Fleet Sail" in 4 years. Helena visited major ports of the Far East, rode out Typhoon Olga off Hong Kong, then returned to San Diego 6 October, soon to participate in Exercise Covered Wagon. During the remainder of the year, Helena participated in a major fleet demonstration observed by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George W. Anderson. Her last operation of the year was Exercise "Black Bear."


During 1961 and 1962, Helena, operated in West Coast and western Pacific waters, taking part in several amphibious operations with ships of the 1st Fleet and elements of the 1st Marine Division and 3rd Marine Air Wing. Helena embarked foreign and staff officers from the Naval War College March 1962, and two groups of Navy League members engaged in orientation cruises in June and August.


As the year ended, Helena was scheduled for inactivation at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. On 18 March 1963, Commander 1st Fleet shifted his flag to Saint Paul. Helena was placed out of commission in Reserve 29 June 1963, after serving (just two months shy of) 18 continuous years of service. Helena was transferred on 30 June 1963 to San Diego Group Pacific Reserve Fleet. Stricken on 1 January 1974, and sold to Levin Metals Co., Beverly Hills, Calif., on 13 November 1974, and scrapped in San Pedro, Calif the following year. The ship's bell is located in downtown Helena, Montana on the grounds of the Walking Mall, outside the Lewis & Clark County Library, along with anchor chain and one propeller.


For her service in the Korean War, she was presented the Presidential Unit Citation of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Service Medal with four stars.


References


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
External links

USS Helena CA-123