A Chronological History

of the U.S. Navy Cruiser USS Little Rock
CL 92 / CLG 4 / CG 4

Page last updated: 8 March, 2020


1940 - 1945
1940 - 1942       1943 - 1944       1945
       

1940 - 1942
       
29 Oct 40 - Contract for construction of USS Little Rock CL 92 is awarded to William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co., Philadelphia, PA. (See Note 6 below)

1943 - 1944
       
06 Mar 43 - Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co., Phila. PA., Hull 435 (future USS Little Rock CL 92) keel is laid down by Wm. Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co., Phila. PA.
1943 - 1944 - Ship under construction at Wm. Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding.
14 Aug 44 - Earl Glen Philbeck enlists in the United States Navy and is sworn in at Spartenburg, SC. (See Note 4 below.)
27 Aug 44 - USS Little Rock is launched, sponsored by Mrs. Samuel Wassell.

1945
       
30 Apr - Adolph Hitler commits suicide.
01 - 07 May - Various German operations surrender, essentially ending the war in Europe.
08 May - Surrender is ratified. VE Day ("Victory in Europe") is celebrated in Europe.
15 Jun - LITTLE ROCK delivered to U.S. Navy by Cramp Shipbuilding. Crew reports on board.
17 Jun 0530 Reveille
1400 Hull No. 435 is commissioned as USS Little Rock CL 92, Capt. William E. Miller in command.
- Fitting out at NSY Philadelphia, PA.  (Program)
18 - 30 Jun - Continued fitting out at NSY Philadelphia, PA.
01-07 Jul - Continued fitting out at NSY Philadelphia, PA.
03 Jul - Commenced fueling ship. Took on approx. 450,000 galloms.
08 Jul 0530 Reveille
0700 Departed NSY Philadelphia. Made river run to point 5 miles south of Overfalls Light Vessel. Some problems with battle phone circuits. Speed attained 26 knots.
2230 Returned to NSY Philadelphia, PA.
09 Jul - Continued fitting out.
10 Jul - Loaded projectiles at Navy Yard, Philadelphia.
11 Jul - Continued fitting out.
12 Jul - Continued fitting out. Commenced readiness for sea.
13 Jul 0700 Moved downriver about 1 mile, to Fort Mifflin, to load Ammo... 5" and 6" shells,  powder cans, aerial depth charges (for seaplanes), and catapult charges. No ammo for 20 mm or 40 mm yet.
- Anchored off Cape May, NJ in Delaware Bay.
14 Jul 0950 Underway for compass compensating lower Delaware Bay. Anchored at SE end of Brown Shoals in Delaware Bay.
1530 Hanger Bay sprinkler activated. Hanger and Elevator pit sprayed with salt water.
15 Jul - Sunday. Anchored. Equipment testing and checks. Rain.
16 Jul 0700 Underway. GQ. Launch and retrieve planes.  At anchor SE end of  Brown Shoals in Delaware Bay.
17 Jul 0600 Underway. GQ. Fired 6" and 5" guns for structural test.
- Refueled by USS Elokomin AO 55.
18 Jul 1230 Moored stbd side to at deperming (degaussing) station, Lambert Pt., Norfolk, VA.
19 Jul 0600 Underway for Pier #7 NOB, Norfolk, VA.
0739 Moored to Pier #7. Received fuel, provisions and (3) SOC-1 airplanes. (This information was derived from a crew member diary. There is no record of LITTLE ROCK ever having SOC-1 seaplanes.  This is most likely an error, and should read "SC-1 seaplane.)
- Capt. William E. Miller CO was commissioned an "Arkansas Traveler" on board by Mayor Dan T. Sprick of Little Rock, Arkansas .
20 Jul 0000 Reported for duty to Commander-in-Chief, US Fleet; Commander-in-Chief, US Atlantic Fleet, and Commander Fleet Operational Training Command.
0755 Underway for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
- First launch of a Curtiss SC-1 "Seahawk". Aircraft pilot was Lt. Frank.
21 Jul - Underway for Guantanamo Bay. Exercised at ship and gunnery drills.
- Personnel Inspection. (According to Philip Taaffe, all non-regulation clothes discovered during Inspection "were thrown over the side then and there."
- General Quarters Drill held during the afternoon.
- General Quarters Drill.
22 Jul - Sunday. Underway for Guantanamo Bay. Exercised at ship and gunnery drills.
- Payday for the crew.
- Launched aircraft.
23 Jul 0800 Reported to Commander Training Group Guantanamo Bay for shakedown.
0812 Arrived at entrance buoy 2GBE. Guantanamo Bay.
0842 Moored portside of fuel dock BB-1.
1511 Anchored - Berth 17.
24 Jul 0655 Underway for training.
- Conducted Man-Overboard Drill.
25 Jul - At sea. Training
- 1330-1500 General Quarters
- Water rationing imposed - 20 gallons per man per day. (Was 23 gal./man/day.)
26 Jul 0630 Entered Guantanamo Bay.
- General Quarters drill 1030-1230, and 1330-1830. (6+ hours long)
- Weather very hot. Crew sleeping topside.
- A valve was accidentally left on filling Fireroom #1 firebox with water. (Heads rolled!)
27 Jul - Underway for exercises.
- Anchored Guantanamo Bay in company with USS Lake Champlain.
- Evening movie "Here Come the Co-eds" with Bud Abbott & Lou Costello.
- Weather continues very hot. Crew sleeping topside.
28 Jul - At anchor Guantanamo Bay.  Personnel Inspection (Saturday)
29 Jul 0730 Underway. Practice shore bombardment Culebra Island. 
- Mount #3 fired a pair of 5" HE with one shell bursting about 20' out of the barrel. Fragments struck ship starting small fires.
30 Jul - At sea off south coast of Cuba.
- General Quarters Drill
- Training and night cruising.
31 Jul - Reveille. At sea.
- General Quarters Drill. Secured at 0830.
- Steaming singly south of Cuba. Training in ship handling, night illumination. Heavy seas.
- Cigarettes in Ship's Store cost 55¢ per carton!
- General Quarters Drill. Secured at 2215.
01 Aug - At Sea. Full power run.
- Entered Guantanamo Bay, anchored berth #17.
- Zone Inspection. Secured at 1600.
- Liberty for Section 4.
02 Aug 0700 Underway. Casualty, Gunnery and Damage Control Drills.
- Anchored berth #17. In company with USS Portsmouth.
03 Aug 0700 Underway. Launch and recover aircraft. Drills. 5" guns shot down two (2) sleeves.
04 Aug - At sea. Drills and exercises.
- One of the SC-1 float planes nosed over during landing. Pilot was okay, but lost his wallet ($55). When the rescuing motor whaleboat was alongside it nearly capsized when caught in the ship's back-down wake. The SC-1 was lost.
- Ship is secured for heavy weather. Hurricane over Santo Domingo.
05 Aug - At sea. Bad weather.
- WT3 Philip Taaffe records in his notebook diary that today was the hottest he could remember the Fireroom (#1) ever being. He also records that steamed at 22 knots on a single boiler (#1).
- Night cruising.
06 Aug - At sea. Exercise 5", 20mm, 40mm. Battle practice.
(Note: On this date U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.)
1320 General Quarters Drill until 1410.
1700 Man-Overboard Drill
2000 General Quarters Drill and Night-Firing Exercises until 2230.
07 Aug 0530 At sea. General Quarters Drill until 0930. Crew ate morning meal at their battle stations.
- Shore bombardment exercise. Launch at recover SC-1 aircraft. Night tactics and cruising.
- Crew hears about US atomic bomb.
08 Aug - At sea.
Note: On this date the Soviet Union declares war on Japan.
0630 Entered Guantanamo Bay. Moored to fueling cay BB-1. Shift to #17.
- Captain inspects lower-decks.
- SC-1 Aircraft #35555 was lost off CubaThe following info was derived from a Navy accident report:  Accident Date:  8/4/1945 (See Note A. below),  Aircraft Type: SC-1,  Aircraft Number: 35555,  Ship Number: CL 92, Ship Name: USS Little Rock,  Location: OFF CUBA,  Area: CENLANT,  Pilot: Name not shown (See Note B. below).
Note A. It is unlikely that the accident occurred on 04 Aug, as the ship was secured for heavy weather.
Note B. John Breslin's Oral History reports that the pilot was Ensign Merriman.
- Evening's movie "Leave it to Blondie" with Penny Sigleton, Arthur Lake and Larry Simms.
09 Aug - At anchor for upkeep and inspections.
(Note: On this date U.S. drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.)
10 Aug 0630 Underway from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
- Exercised towing with USS Portsmouth. Towing wire fouled Portsmouth rudder or propellers.
- Fired at drones ("Moderate success").
- Abandon Ship drills.
11 Aug - Exercised fueling, passing stores and personnel with DD864 USS Ellison.
12 Aug - Full power run. Reach ahead from 31 kts to dead-in-water 947 yards.
- Towing practice with USS Providence.
- Crew practices firing against remote-controlled (from the ship) drones,
- Roast Turkey for dinner
13 Aug - Bombardment rehearsal with USS Portsmouth, Ellison and Turner.
- Ham for dinner.
14 Aug - Japan surrenders. LITTLE ROCK crew received news that the war was over.
Done firings, Day Battle practice. Night AA practice.
(Note: On this date Japan surrenders.)
15 Aug 0705 Entered Guantanamo Bay for upkeep and inspection.
- Movie for the evening was "Practically Your's" with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.
- Emperor Hirohito of Japan announces the surrender of Japan.
16 Aug - At anchor for upkeep and inspection.
- Payday for the crew.
17 Aug 0700 Underway. AA practice. Refuel 200,000 gallons, then tow tanker. Counter-measure practice.
- Movies on the fantail.
18 Aug 0430 Reveille.
0505 General Quarters Drill
- Shore bombardment. Day Battle and Drone practice. Knocked down drone on 2nd run.
19 Aug - Overcast cancels drone exercise. Evening AA practice.
21 Aug - Drone practice with 6" and 5".  6" not very close. 5" knocked down drone. 20mm practice.
22 Aug - Entered Guantanamo Bay for upkeep prior to COTCLANT Inspection.
- The evening:  "Where Do We Go From Here?" with Fred MacMurray and Joan Leslie.
22 - 24 Aug - Continued preparations for COTCLANT Inspection.
25 Aug 0955 Commenced COTCLANT "At Anchor" Inspection.
1130 Underway for "Underway Portion" of Inspection
1715 Returned to Guantanamo Bay to disembark Inspection Team.
1815 Underway for Culebra for bombardment exercise.
26 Aug - Enroute Culebra.
27 Aug - Off Culebra.
0754 Commenced bombardment.
1130 Completed bombardment.
- Headed northward during the night.
28 Aug 0826 Commenced bombardment.
1130 Completed bombardment.  Underway for Philadelphia, PA with speed-run test enroute.
29 Aug - Enroute Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, PA
30 Aug 0700 Enroute Philadelphia
1822 Moored starboard side to at Pier 5, PNY, Philadelphia, PA.
31 Aug - Moored as before, PNY, Philadelphia, PA
01-16 Sep - Undergoing repairs and alterations at Pier 5, PNY, Philadelphia, PA
02 Sep - Japan signs surrender on board USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Tokyo, Japan.
17 Sep - Entered drydock No. 3 for inspection of rudder post and packing. Packing was renewed. Rudder post was in good condition.
- Rumors abound that LITTLE ROCK will be "the flagship" for the upcoming Navy Day celebrations in New York City, however it turns out that LITTLE ROCK will be in San Juan, PR on 27 Oct.
18-19 Sep - Hurricane #9 (downgraded to an "extra-tropical depression on 18 Sep) strikes the Mid-Atlantic area with heavy rains and wind of up to 50 mph.
21 Sep - Undocked and moved to Pier #5. Continued overhaul work.
23 Sep - Yard availability expired.
25 Sep - Depart Philadelphia Navy Yard, Phila. PA for Fort Mifflin, PA to load ammunition.
26 Sep 0930 Underway for Newport, RI.
- In lower Delaware Bay by afternoon.
- General Quarters drill in the evening.
- Rumors of  South America cruise circulate among the crew.
27 Sep 0830 Anchored, Berth 54, East Passage, Newport, RI in 20 fathoms.
- USS Augusta CA-31 in port.
28-30 Sep - At anchor Berth 54 Newport Harbor.
01 Oct - At anchor.
0815 Embarked USS Juneau trainees.
02 Oct 0900 Underway on first of 3 five-day trips between Goat Is. and Block Is., with Middies from Annapolis (?). All types of drills for them with 1 Day liberty in Newport, RI, each week.
- Poor weather prevented drills.
1730 Anchored Block Island, in 16 fathoms
03 Oct 0800 Underway for drills and General Quarters.
04 Oct - 20 and 40mm firing exercises.
1700 Anchored off Block Island.
05 Oct 0830 Underway for Newport Harbor.
1112 Moored to Buoy #5.
1315 Disembarked trainees.
06-07 Oct - Moored Newport Harbor.
08 Oct - Received trainees from USS Princeton Commissioning Detail.
09 Oct - Underway for ship handling and AA training.
1640 Anchored east of Block Island.
10 Oct 0800 Underway for AA tracking and simulated Air Strikes.
11 Oct 0723 Entered Narragansett Seaward Channel.
- 5", 20mm and 40mm exercises.
1725 Anchored east of Block Island.
12 Oct 0830 Underway for Newport Harbor.
1120 Moored to Buoy #5 Newport Harbor.
13-14 Oct - At anchor Newport Harbor.
15 Oct 0830 Received trainees from USS Princeton Commissioning Detail.
16 Oct 0900 Underway for training in Narragansett Seaward Channel.
1735 Anchored east of Block Island.
17 Oct 0830 Underway for training exercises. AA drills, steering casualty, man over-board.
2035 General Quarters drill.
18 Oct 0737 Passed Buoy "A" Narragansett Seaward Channel. Weather prevented gunnery exercise.
1630 Moored to Buoy #5
19-20 Oct - Moored to Buoy #5 Newport Harbor. (War Diary discontinued.)
21 Oct - Departed Newport, RI for South America cruise via San Juan, PR.
- Pass Ambrose Lightship, NY.
22 Oct - LITTLE ROCK passes Cape Charles, VA
23 Oct - Ship is about 100 miles off the coast of Georgia, USA.
24 Oct - Off the coast of Florida.
25 Oct - Calm blue seas.
- Prophylactic treatments were administered to 231 crew members upon return from liberty.
26 Oct - Prophylactic treatments were administered to 289 crew members upon return from liberty.
1405 Moored starboard side at Frontier Base Wharf, San Juan, PR.
26 - 27 Oct - USS Little Rock holds two-day open house. Hours 1000-1100 and 1300-1600.
27 Oct - "Navy Day" celebrations. Approximately 6,800 Puertoricans visit the USS Little Rock.
28 Oct - CDR J.T. Hazen, XO, USS Little Rock, participates in a radio broadcast (WKAQ).
25-30 Oct (?) - LITTLE ROCK crew acquires puppy "Hash Mark"
30 Oct 1249 Underway for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, SA. Start of CL 92's South America cruise.
04 Nov - "Davy Jones" arrives aboard LITTLE ROCK.
05 Nov 0810 "King Neptune" arrives on board with his retinue. Crossed the Equator at Longitude 37° 00' W while heading south. Wild "hi-jinks" aboard! "Shellback" certificates and wallet size  cards were issued to all those crew members who were initiated into King Neptune's Court.
06 Nov - In port. Rio Grande, Brazil
09(?) - 10 Nov - Arrive Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Moor starboard side to at Cais del Porto dock.
19 Nov - Dress ship in honor of Brazil's Flag Day.
20 Nov 1035 Underway after a vigorous inspection for stowaways.
23 Nov - An Albatross was sighted by Cdr. Arthur Schultz (the ship's doctor).
24 Nov 1207 Moored starboard side to at Montevideo, Uruguay.
1500 US Ambassador William Dawson, Ambassador to Uruguay came on board.
- Ship's Band performs for Ambassador Dawson.
26 Nov - Ambassador to Bolivia Pierre Boal comes aboard for lunch.
28 Nov - The Polyfonic Choir of the "Talleres Don Bosco" school performs aboard LITTLE ROCK.
30 Nov - Uruguayan Railroad hosts rail trip for 300 crew to interior of Uruguay.
03 Dec 1032 Depart Montevideo, Uruguay for Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
04 Dec (?) - "Hash Mark" breaks her leg.
05 Dec - At sea. Planned arrival at Rio Grande do Sul is delayed because of adverse winds and seas.
- Moored at Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
08 Dec - At Rio Grande do Sul.
- Ship and Personnel inspection by Captain Miller.
11 Dec - At Rio Grande do Sul.
12 Dec - Moored starboard side at A-2 Porto Nova Dock, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
- Captain William E. Miller flew to Rio de Janeiro.
- Evening movie "Sweet Rosie O'Grady".
15 Dec 0847 Underway for Santos, Brazil
17 Dec 1537 Moored portside abreast Companhia Docas de Armazem ("Armazem Company docks") at Santos (Sao Paulo), Brazil, SA.
18 Dec - Approximately 300 CL 92 sailors are guests at a picnic held for the crew of USS Little Rock. Festivities included a barbecue, swimming and a ball game.
- Rioting breaks out between Japanese, Brazilian civilians and CL 92 liberty party.
19 Dec - Liberty for crew is canceled due to unrest in Sao Paulo.
21 Dec 1456 Underway for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
22 Dec 1058 Moored starboard side to Praca Maua, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 13 day stop!
25 Dec - Christmas in Rio !!
- The ship's band performs on the mess decks and plays, among other things, "I'm Dreaming of A White Christmas"
27 Dec - Moored Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Notes:
  1. Date shown for ports generally indicates arrival date.
  2. Port stays are typically 3-5 days.
  3. Rioting involving the LITTLE ROCK crew created an international incident.
  4. The letters of Earl Glen Philbeck have contributed greatly to the ship's chronology for the years 1945 and 1946. His letters were sent primarily to his wife Dorothy. Earl was married to Dorothy "Dot"(Gamble) Philbeck, and they had two children, a son Tommy, and a daughter Glenda. Mrs. Philbeck was living in Forest City, NC during the time Earl was in the Navy. Shipmate Philbeck died on 02 Oct 2011. He was predeceased by his wife and son. The letters were part of a collection of Philbeck's Navy memorabilia obtained by USS Little Rock shipmate Wayne McDermott MU2 1968-1970.
  5. Thanks to the family of WT3 Philip G. Taaffe (1945-1946) for the donation of his notebooks and photo album, without which many of the details for 1945-1946 would be missing.
  6. Cramp Shipbuilding Company, closed in 1927, was reopened in1941. Over the next four years the yard would begin construction on six (6) Cleveland Class light cruisers. They were as follows:


Builder's Number Name Navy Hull No. Comp. Date
532 Miami CL-89 1942
533 Astoria CL-90 1943
534 Oklahoma City CL-91 1944
535 Little Rock CL-92 1945
536 Galveston CL-93 1945
537 Youngstown CL-94 Not Comp.

In addition to the five Light Cruisers completed during this period, Cramp Shipbuilding Company also completed the following other type vessels:
(10) Workshop barges,  (5) Ocean Tugs,  (1) Transport ship,  (1) Repair Ship  and(14) Submarines.


Click below to go to another time-frame

1940-1945 1946
1947-1956 1957-1965
1966-1973 1974-1979
2011-2020

"Thank You" to the to-numerous-to-mention contributors to this page.
Without your collective help this chronology would be hopelessly incomplete!