USS ASTORIA in the Mothball Navy

1 July 1949

After more than five years of service, USS ASTORIA CL-90 was decommissioned.  She was placed into reserve with the San Francisco Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.  There she joined ten other CLEVELAND-class cruisers: BIRMINGHAM CL-62, VINCENNES CL-64, SPRINGFIELD CL-66, TOPEKA CL-67, VICKSBURG CL-86, DULUTH CL-87, MIAMI CL-89, OKLAHOMA CITY CL-91, AMSTERDAM CL-101, and ATLANTA CL-104. 

ASTORIA remained mothballed in the San Francisco Naval Shipyard for almost nine years.

Aerial view circa early 1958 of the San Francisco Group, including ASTORIA.

- U.S. Naval Institute Photo

20 May 1958
ASTORIA was transferred to the San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remained in reserve for another eleven years.

Aerial view circa July 1969 of the San Diego Group.  ASTORIA is at the center of the photo, with AMSTERDAM CL-101 and SAN JACINTO CVL-30 to her starboard side.
-Photo courtesy of Larry Cote

1 Nov 1969
ASTORIA was finally struck from the Navy list more than twenty-five years after she was commissioned.

12 Jan 1971

ASTORIA CL-90 was sold to Nicolai Joffe Corporation of Beverly Hills, CA for scrapping.

ASTORIA at San Diego: The Larry Cote Photographs

A rare color photo of ASTORIA, taken by Larry on 17 September 1970.  To her port side is USS TUCSON CLAA-98, and to starboard is AMSTERDAM CL-101.
-Photo taken by and courtesy of Larry Cote

ASTORIA CL-90 at left, AMSTERDAM CL-101 at right.
-Photo taken by and courtesy of Larry Cote


Starboard and port views of ASTORIA taken by Larry on 17 September 1970.  Note Mighty Ninety’s pennant number still visible in both photos.
-Photos taken by and courtesy of Larry Cote

As luck would have it, Larry was down by the waterfront in the cold, foggy late afternoon of 8 February 1971 when ASTORIA was towed out for the last time.  He took these two photos as she passed under the Coronado Bridge.  They are very possibly the last photos of ASTORIA ever taken.
-Photos taken by and courtesy of Larry Cote



Bonner, Kit and Carolyn. Warship Boneyards.  Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing Company, 2001.

Cote, Larry.  Private photo collection.

Ewing, Steve.  American Cruisers of WWII: A Pictorial Encyclopedia.  Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories, 1984.

Madsen, Daniel.  Forgotten Fleet: The Mothball Navy.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.

Mooney, James L., ed.  Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, 8 Vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1959-91.

Website Builder