U.S. Navy Battleships - USS Colorado (BB 45)
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Displacement: 32,600 tons
Speed: 21 knots
Armament: Eight 16" guns; twelve 5" guns; eight 3" guns; two 21" torpedo tubes
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The third Colorado (BB-45) 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
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 1941 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 pre-invasion 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 pre-invasion
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 pre-invasion 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 pre-invasion bombardments in Lingayen Gulf.
On 9 January accidental gunfire hit her superstructure killing
18 and wounding 51.
After replenishing at Ulithi, Colorado joined the pre-invasion
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. 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. Colorado was placed out of
commission in reserve there 7 January 1947, and sold for
scrapping 28 July 1959.
Colorado received seven battle stars for World War II service.
Updated: 30 July 2009