The USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148), a Des Moines-class heavy cruiser, was commissioned on 29 JAN 1949. USS NEWPORT NEWS served her country for 26 years, 4 months and 29 days, until decommissioned on 27 JUN 1975. NEWPORT NEWS spent the first eighteen years sailing from the East Coast on routine and contingency deployments. She answered the call to project American strength in the East Mediterranean and in several instances in the Caribbean, including the Cuban Missile Blockade. In September 1967 she sailed for the Pacific and the War in Vietnam. NEWPORT NEWS deployed three times to Vietnam, providing air defense and shore bombardment for the American effort. USS NEWPORT NEWS spent her "twilight tour" homeported in Norfolk, and sailing to the North Atlantic, Caribbean, hosting diplomatic and ceremonial events, midshipman training and a final dependent's cruise. NEWPORT NEWS was decommissioned in June 1975 and eventually scrapped in the early 1990s
The USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:
USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148)
The second Newport News (CA-148), a heavy cruiser, was laid down 1 November
1945; launched on 6 March 1948 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock
Company, Newport News, Virginia; sponsored by Mrs. Homer T. Ferguson;
commissioned 29 January 1949, Captain Roland N. Smoot commanding.
In addition to annual deployments to the
Mediterranean from 1950 to 1961 for duty with the Sixth Fleet, she participated
in major fleet exercises and midshipman training cruises in the Caribbean and
Western Atlantic. In early September 1957, Newport
News was on station in the Eastern Mediterranean in preparation for any
contingency during the Syrian crisis. In March 1960, while steaming 75 miles
northeast of Sicily, Newport News was
ordered to proceed to Agadir, Morocco, to render assistance to the survivors of
that earthquake shattered city. She steamed 1,225 miles in 40.5 hours at an
average speed of 31 knots, arriving on 3 March to provide medical and material
aid. With the assassination of General Trujillo and the resulting instability
in Santo Domingo, Newport News was
underway on short notice on 4 June 1961, and proceeded to a station in
international waters off the Dominican Republic to await further orders. When
the crisis terminated, the ship returned to Norfolk after conducting training
exercises off Puerto Rico.
News' berthing and communications facilities were
modified in the winter of 1962 to accomodate Commander Second Fleet and his
staff. In August 1962, she participated in NATO Exercise RIPTIDE III, and upon
the end of the exercise, made a month long tour of Northern European ports as
flagship of ComStrikFltLant, the NATO role of Commander Second Fleet.
Within a month after return to Norfolk, Newport News was underway on 22 October
along with other units of the Atlantic Fleet for the Cuban Quarantine. For the
next month, acting as flagship for ComSecondFlt, CA-148 was on station
northeast of Cuba. When the Soviet MRBM's were dismantled and removed from
Cuba, Newport News assisted in the
missile count. Upon cancellation of the quarantine, she returned to her
homeport of Norfolk the day before Thanksgiving.
Operations from 1963 through 1967
consisted primarily of NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, gunnery and
amphibious exercises off the Eastern seaboard and Caribbean, and midshipman
cruises. When the Dominican Republic crisis of 1965 developed, Newport News sortied from Norfolk on 29
April for Santo Domingo, where she was flagship for Commander Joint Task Force
122. Newport News remained on station
off Santo Domingo until 7 May 1965 when JTF 122 was dissolved, and command was
shifted to the Army ashore in the Dominican Republic. She returned to Norfolk,
where in June alterations were made to increase her combat capabilities.
1 September 1967, Commander Second Fleet
shifted his flag to Springfield, and Newport News departed Norfolk 5
September for a six month deployment to South East Asia. Arriving Da Nang,
South Vietnam, on the morning of 9 October, she became the flagship of
ComCruDesFlot 3. That night, at 2300, she fired her eight inch rifles for the
first time in anger against shore targets in North Vietnam as part of
operation Sea Dragon. For years her powerful guns had served as a major force
to keep the peace. Now her strength served well in war during the following
months in providing interdiction fire north of the Demilitarized Zone and naval
gunfire support for American allied troops in South Vietnam.
The cruiser departed Subic Bay 21 April and arrived at her
homeport of Norfolk 13 May 1968, via the Panama Canal.
[Note: The above USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]