USS Columbia (CL-56)

USS Columbia (CL-56) off San Pedro, 1945
USS Columbia (CL-56), port bow aerial view while underway on 15 May 1945 off San Pedro, California.
United States
Namesake:City of Columbia, South Carolina
Builder:New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey
Laid down:18 August 1940
Launched:17 December 1941
Sponsored by:Miss J. A. Paschal
Commissioned:29 July 1942
Decommissioned:30 November 1946
Struck:1 March 1959
Motto:"Gem of the Pacific"
Honors and
Fate:Sold for scrap, 18 February 1959
General characteristics
Class and type:Cleveland-class light cruiser
  • 11,744 long tons (11,932 t) (standard)
  • 14,131 long tons (14,358 t) (max)
  • 610 ft 1 in (185.95 m) oa
  • 608 ft (185 m)pp
Beam:66 ft 4 in (20.22 m)
  • 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m) (mean)
  • 25 ft (7.6 m) (max)
Installed power:
Speed:32.5 kn (37.4 mph; 60.2 km/h)
Range:11,000 nmi (20,000 km; 13,000 mi) at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Complement:1,255 officers and enlisted
Aircraft carried:4 × floatplanes
Aviation facilities:2 × stern catapults
Service record
Operations:World War II

USS Columbia (CL-56) was one of 26 United States Navy Cleveland-class light cruisers completed during or shortly after World War II. The ship, the sixth US Navy ship to bear the name, was named for the city of Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia was commissioned in July 1942, and saw service in several campaigns in the Pacific. Like almost all her sister ships, she was decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and never saw active service again. Columbia was scrapped in the early 1960s. A memorial to the ship and men who served on her exists in Columbia, SC.

Construction and commissioning

Columbia was laid down on 18 August 1940 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, New Jersey; and launched on 17 December 1941 sponsored by Miss J. A. Paschal. She was commissioned on 29 July 1942, with Captain W. A. Heard in command.[1]