MIGHTY NINETY

Chapter 4: Mouth of the Dragon



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USS ASTORIA CL-90 departs the Gulf of Paria, 16 July 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper


16 July 1944
USS ASTORIA left the Trinidad area and headed back toward the United States for post-shakedown inspection and overhaul. En route she stopped at Culebra, Puerto Rico for live-fire shore bombardment exercises.



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The Gulf of Paria at dawn, 16 July 1944. American naval warships are visible at right.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper





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ASTORIA passes through the "Mouth of the Dragon" between Trinidad and Venezuela, 16 July 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper





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USS ASTORIA leaving Trinidad for open sea, 16 July 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper




USS ASTORIA approaches the U.S. Navy gunnery range at Culebra, Puerto Rico on 17 July 1944.
-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper





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Above: section of firing grid for Culebra range marked on an aerial photograph. Note the names of landmarks: Hitler Flat, Tokyo Hill, Shanghai Bay and so on.
Below:Sea chart for Culebra with firing grid drawn in.
-image courtesy of Herman Schnipper


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-image courtesy of Herman Schnipper




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The aft main battery of USS ASTORIA CL-90 fires upon the Navy gunnery range at Culebra, Puerto Rico on 17 July 1944. Note the empty catapult, as ASTORIA's Kingfisher floatplanes were engaged in aerial spotting of the fire mission.

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper





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The port city of Charlotte Amalie viewed from St. Thomas Harbor in the U.S. Virgin Islands. USS ASTORIA made a brief stop here following her gunnery exercises so that her destroyer escort could refuel. This was a precautionary measure due to a hurricane reported southeast of Cape Hatteras. A rumor spread through the ship of a German submarine threat, but there was no truth to it.

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper




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USS DECATUR DD-341, ASTORIA's destroyer escort, fuels at the coaling station in Long Bay, St. Thomas near Charlotte Amalie. Both ships were underway for the states within two hours.

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper




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Flags fly from the foremast yardarm as ASTORIA returns to open sea, stating "Proceed to States."
 

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper



20 July 1944
USS ASTORIA put in overnight at Hampton Roads, Virginia.  The next morning a Military and Damage Control inspection party came aboard from USS WYOMING. RADM D.B. Beary led the inspection.

22 July 1944
USS ASTORIA spent the day under further observation of RADM Beary and the WYOMING party. She conducted a battle problem with USS DECATUR and target ship DANIEL A. JOY. Upon completion of the battle problem, ASTORIA and her crew were declared "fit for any and all action."



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USS ASTORIA underway from Hampton Roads for her battle problem, 22 July 1944.
-U.S. Navy Photo in NARA Records Group 80-G-237914





In a closeup from the previous photo, ASTORIA's paravane can be seen at center. While streaming the paravane, its lines became tangled and it was damaged.
-U.S. Navy Photo in NARA Records Group 80-G-237914



Following the completion of her inspection at Hampton Roads, USS ASTORIA steamed back up the east coast to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where she arrived the next day.




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USS ASTORIA CL-90 in the Delaware River on  23 July 1944. Her crew wears whites in anticipation of return to port. At left is the Sun Shipbuilding Company, where T-2 fleet auxiliary tankers are in mass production.

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper





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USS ASTORIA arrives at her berth at Pier 4, Philadelphia Navy Yard. British battleship HMS NELSON is the ship at center.

-photo taken by and courtesy of Herman Schnipper


                                          Continue to CHAPTER 5: GOLDEN GATE IN '48

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Sources:

Cote, Larry.  Private photo collection.

Jones, Brent.  Private document collection.

MIGHTY NINETY: USS ASTORIA CL-90 cruise book, 1946.

Schnipper, Herman.  Private photo collection.

www.navsource.org cruiser photo archive.

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