My Tour of duty
17 February 1973 - 14 May 1976
|USS Oklahoma City CLG-5|
Displacement: 14,400 t. (full load)
Speed: 31.6 k.
Armament: 12 6"; 12 5"; 28 40mm; 10 20mm
Displacement: 15,240 t. (full load)
Speed: 32-33 k.
Armament: 3 6"; 2 5"
1 twin Talos missile system w/46 missiles
OKLAHOMA CITY (CL-91) was laid down 8 December 1942 by the Cramp Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, Pa.; launched 20 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Anton H. Classen; commissioned 22 December 1944, Capt. C. B. Hunt in command.
Following shakedown, OKLAHOMA CITY transited the Panama Canal and reported to ComCruPac for duty, arriving Pearl Harbor 2 May 1945. She conducted local operations until 22 May when she sailed for Ulithi, thence to rendezvous 6 June with Carrier Task Group 38.1 for operations in support of the Okinawa campaign. For the rest of June and into July, she screened 3d Fleet carriers during their intensified air operations against Japanese forces. On 18 July, she formed a bombardment group with other cruisers and destroyers, then rejoined the carrier task group for continued action against the Japanese home islands. At the end of hostilities she continued to patrol off the coast of Japan and it was not until 10 September, after seventy-two days of continuous steaming, that she finally entered Tokyo Bay. OKLAHOMA CITY remained on occupation duty until relieved 30 January 1946 when she departed for the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 14 February where she remained until 15 August when she entered the Mare Island Navy Yard for inactivation. She was placed out of commission in reserve 30 June 1947, assigned to the San Francisco Group, U.S. Pacific Reserve Fleet.
On 7 March 1957, OKLAHOMA CITY arrived at the Bethlehem Steel Corp. Pacific Coast Yard, San Francisco, where conversion to a guided missile light cruiser commenced 21 May, her hull classification and number being changed two days later to CLG-5. Her conversion completed 31 August 1960, she was towed to Hunter's Point where she recommissioned 7 September, Capt. Ben W. Sarver in command.
Personal note:   I noticed from the dimensions that the Okie Boat was cut down to size during the conversion. Notice they cut 1' 1" from her length and approximately 2' from her beam. I don't know how the latter was done and am trying to verify whether this is a mistake in the beam dimensions. In any case in doing that the crew size was cut by 326 men, who presumably were cramped in that 1' by 2' area cut off from the original dimensions. Something to think about.
During her shakedown training, OKLAHOMA CITY became the first combatant unit of the Pacific Fleet to fire a Talos guided missile successfully. Following shakedown, she participated in several major training exercises while serving as flagship for CruDiv 3 and CruDesFlot 9, then departed 1 December for a six month deployment in WestPac. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan 20 December where, six days later, she became flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. The ship participated in SEATO training operations, received two awards for operational excellence, and served as an ambassador of good will to several cities in the Far East. She then returned to Long Beach, California 12 June 1961 and spent the next several months conducting local training operations and upkeep work. On 14 December, she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for restricted availability followed by an extensive overhaul.
In early 1964, OKLAHOMA CITY began refresher training in Southern California waters to prepare for a lengthy deployment, then departed for Yokosuka where she arrived 7 July to assume her duties again as 7th Fleet flagship. Shortly thereafter, North Vietnamese gunboats attacked U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf and OKLAHOMA CITY quickly began a 25-day alert in the Gulf. Training exercises and operational visits to various ports in the Far East followed, then in June 1965 she began gunfire support missions off Vietnam. When the level of hostilities increased, she began to spend more and more time in the South China Sea and eventually participated in operations "Piranha," "Double Eagle," "Deckhouse IV," and "Hastings II." After serving as 7th Fleet flagship for two and one-half years, OKLAHOMA CITY returned to San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard 15 December 1966 for overhaul. Following her yard period, she began refresher training in the Southern California operating area in July 1967, and continued those exercises and intermittent calls to West Coast ports until she deployed again to WestPac 7 November 1968. She arrived at Yokosuka 20 December and into August 1969, was again contributing to the strength of the 7th Fleet by participating in the varied assignments its units are called on to perform.
OKLAHOMA CITY received two battle stars for service in World War II.
Above information taken from the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships," (1970) Vol. 5, p.149.
CHICAGO (CG-11), LONG BEACH (CGN-9) and OKLAHOMA CITY fired their Talos anti-radar missiles (RGM-8H) against North Vietnamese radar sites, but little information has been released about these engagements. On 30 June 1975, OKLAHOMA CITY was reclassified guided missile cruiser, CG-5.
Serving off and on as 7th Fleet flagship until October 1979, she was relieved by command ship BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19 ex-AGC 19). Decommissioned later that year, she was stricken on 15 December 1979, Marked 30 Nov 1995 for temporary layup at Suisun Bay.
Personal note:   The USS Oklahoma City received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the period 28 April - 30 April 1975 for her participation in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Vietnam. BM2 David Campbell received the Navy Achievement Medal from the Secretary of The Navy for "Heroic Achievement as Petty Officer in Charge of the flight deck" on 28 April 1975.According to his citation there were 154 men, women & children evacuated with 12 helicopter landings on the USS Oklahoma City. I'm still gathering data about this event such as which ships were involved. I would appreciate hearing from anyone with information about this.
Personal note:   I have received confirmation that the USS Oklahoma City was indeed still afloat at Suisun Bay up until January 1999 when she was underway again to Hawaii for preparations to be sunk off Guam in Exercise Tandem Thrust 99. (Sounds like a maneuver I learned in the Philippines) FC1 Andy Doty sent me e-mail to say the Okie Boat was in his backyard in Hawaii and she "still has a 6" gun up forward and the two SPG-49s aft, but no launcher.. But still very impressive!!" From the photos of the Okie Boat leaving Suisun Bay on Joe Caruso web site it looks as thought she had the 5" mount removed as well. Visit Joe Caruso's site at www.ussokcity.com for more information on the final days as well as the history of the USS Oklahoma City. I also heard from MSNESOP Macfarlane (don't know if that is his rate/rank or not) aboard the HMCS HURON that his ship will participate in the exercise off Guam and you may find photos on his Ship's web site at www.hmcshuronassociation.com. Thank you to all the people who took time out to send me information about my first command.
This page was last updated on 3 March 2013