USS Columbus (CA-74) Howard's hand-written comments: Heavy Cruiser
The third USS Columbus (CA-74), a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, was the second ship of the United States Navy named for Columbus, Ohio. She was launched 30 November 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Massachusetts; she was sponsored by Mrs. E. G. Meyers; and commissioned 8 June 1945, Captain A. Hobbs in command.
Joining the Pacific Fleet, Columbus reached Tsingtao, China, 13 January 1946 for occupation duty. On 1 April she helped to sink 24 Japanese submarines, prizes of war, and next day sailed for San Pedro, California. For the remainder of the year, she operated in west coast waters, then made a second Far Eastern cruise from 15 January to 12 June 1947.
After west coast operations and an overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Columbus cleared Bremerton 12 April 1948 to join the Atlantic Fleet, arriving at Norfolk, Va., 19 May. Columbus made two cruises as flagship of Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, from 13 September 1948 to 15 December 1949 and from 12 June 1950 to 5 October 1951, and one as flagship of Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, during parts of NATO Operation Mainbrace from 25 August to 29 September 1952. She cruised in the Mediterranean from October 1952 through January 1953, serving part of that time as flagship of the 6th Fleet. Now flagship of Cruiser Division 6, she returned to the Mediterranean from September 1954 to January 1955. Between deployments, Columbus received necessary overhauls and carried out training operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean.
Reassigned to the Pacific Fleet, Columbus cleared Boston, [[Massachusetts], on 8 November 1955 for Long Beach, California, where she arrived 2 December. Just a month later, on 5 January 1956, she sailed for Yokosuka, Japan, and operated with the 7th Fleet until she returned to Long Beach 8 July. Columbus made two more cruises to the Far East in 1957 and 1958. During the late summer of 1958, her presence was a reminder of American strength and interest as she patrolled the Taiwan Straits during the crisis brought on by the renewed shelling of the offshore islands by the Chinese communists. On 8 May 1959, Columbus went out of commission at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to begin her conversion to a guided missile cruiser.
On 30 September 1959 the USS Columbus was retrofitted as an Albany class Guided Missile Cruiser, joining the USS Albany (CG-10) and USS Chicago (CG-11) as the only three ships of this line, and reclassified CG-12,. The USS Columbus (CG-12) was subsequently recommissioned on 1 December 1962, and her first deployment was to the western Pacific in August 1964.
The Columbus served as Flagship COMCRUDESFLOT throughout 1966, after assignment to the Atlantic Fleet at the start of that year. From 1966 until 1974, Columbus deployed to the Mediterranean seven times.
Unlike the other members of the class that had been converted to guided missile cruisers, the ship was not modernised in 1970. Upon return from her final Mediterranean deployment on 31 May 1974, she entered port and began preparations for deactivation and decommissioning. The ship was decommissioned on 31 January 1975, stricken from the Navy List on 9 August 1976 and sold for scrapping on 3 October 1977.