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U.S. Cruiser Little Rock Launched
August 28, 1944
Philadelphia. Pa. Aug. 27 (AP)
The U.S.S. Little Rock, a 10,000-ton light cruiser, slid down the ways into the Delaware River today at the Cramp Shipbuilding Company yards here.
Mrs. Samuel M. Wassell, wife of a Little Rock councilman, christened the vessel. Congressman Brooks Hays, Arkansas, told the crowd of approximately 5000 workers and guests that “cruisers were the hottest item of naval combat.”
“The people of Little Rock are proud to have such a ship as this bear their city's name.” said Mr. Hays. “Even those of us who know little about the classification of naval vessels know that the cruisers have distinguished themselves in the Pacific war and that this is the outstanding type of combat vessel for that area. The navy men tell us that the cruiser is ‘the work horse of the Navy,” big enough to go into any battle, fast enough to lead any task force.
“Carrying as it has the heaviest load in the Pacific where the greatest battles have taken place the cruisers have added luster to naval history. We hope in the time remaining before our enemies are put down the Little Rock will take her place alongside the Boise, the San Francisco, the Helena, and the Chicago, preserving the prestige of the cruisers.
“We are glad to honor the workmen and the company for which they work. I am sure we are all impressed with the spirit of teamwork which produced the results we observe today. In March 1943 the keel was laid, and for 18 months materials for the ship have come from everywhere. The taxes to pay for it will be assessed against men and women of great and little resources. Teamwork from beginning to end did the job.
So with the war. A glorious victory lies ahead but there is much remaining to be done. Only teamwork can supply the dynamic power yet needed to complete that victory. Every ship launching is a reminder of the power that comes to a people who work together to achieve.”
McClellan, Fulbright Attend
Other guests included United States Senator John L. McClellan and Congressman and Mrs. J. William Fulbright, Arkansas.
The Little Rock, a vessel of the Cleveland Class, will mount 12 six-inch guns in four turrets as a main battery and will have secondary and anti-aircraft battery of guns of smaller calibre.
Navy Times, June 1946
U.S.S. Little Rock Hosts Boxing Match
The June 1946 Navy Times ran an article on boxing through out the Fleet. The picture below accompanied the article. (No other information was provided regarding boxing matches on board LITTLE ROCK.)
USS Little Rock Likened To 'Rebirth' of Namesake
ARKASAS GAZETTE, Sat. June 4, 1960By BILL LEWIS
Of the Gazette Staff
Philadelphia, June 3 - The Cruiser Little Rock, in a ceremony at the Naval Base here, rejoined the fleet this afternoon with new Talos guided missiles on its decks.
Senator Fulbright (Dem., Ark.,) the principal speaker, likened the rebirth of the Little Rock to that of the city for which it is named.
"As this ship represents a triumph for progressive naval leadership." he said, "the changes now taking place in the city of Little Rock represent the triumph of a progressive community action.
"The citizens of Little Rock have reasserted their will to move forward and to create a modern and progressive community. Slums are being cleared, bridges and throughways are being constructed, and the schools are open and operating.
"Little Rock, along with the entire state of which it is the capital city, has made and is making rapid strides toward achieving a better life for all the people."
He said it was fitting and symbolic that as the city emerges from "a difficult period in its history," the cruiser Little Rock "also receives a new lease on life."
Phillips Takes Helm
As the 1,100 crewmen of the Little Rock lined the decks of the cruiser, Rear Admiral Charles H. Lyman read the recommissioning orders and Capt. Jewett O. Phillips Jr. took command.
Captain Philips said he considered it a special privilege to command the ship, which he terms "one of the most complex products of naval technology."
The Little Rock is the Navy's fifth guided missile cruiser, but only the second to carry the supersonic Talos. The Talos is capable of destroying aircraft flying as high as 65 miles.
In addition to its role as a fighting unit, Captain Phillips said the Little Rock must "play the role of goodwill ambassador" in the cities and countries of the world that it will visit, promoting international understanding and friendship as a full participant in President Eisenhower's people-to-people program.
Knoop in Ceremony
Little Rock Mayor Werner C. Knoop announced the presentation to the ship's crew of two high-fidelity phonographs and tape recorders as the city's recommissioning gift. He made Admiral Lyman and Captain Phillips honorary citizens of Little Rock, presenting them with keys to the city. Keys also went to Undersecretary of the Navy Cecil P. Milne; Rear Admiral J.M. Davis, commander of Cruiser Division Four, and Cmdr. Francis J. Berry, the Little Rock's executive officer.
Mrs. Fulbright, Mrs, Knoop and Mrs. Milne shared the platform, which was erected on the ship's stern, beneath an imposing backdrop of two mounted Talos missiles.
New York Times, Saturday, January 21, 1967
Flagship of U.S. 6th Fleet Bids Farewell to France
By RICHARD E. MOONEY Special to The New York Times
VILLEFRANCE-SUR-MER, France, Jan. 20
With the ship's band playing the theme from a sentimental French film, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," the guided missile cruiser Springfield, flagship of the United States Sixth Fleet, sailed from her home port on the French Riviera this morning for the last time.
Along with the other American forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Sixth Fleet is leaving France at the request of President DeGaulle.
Mrs. Jeanne Sanguinetti, a housewife, was at the farewell today with a bouquet of five pink and white carnations for “those wonderful Americans”
Mary Young, an American student in Nice, was there peering through the 20 centime-a-minute telescope for “someone” on deck.
Sun Fails to Make It
Mrs. William F. Clifford Jr., wife of an officer on the commanding Admiral’s staff, was there wearing two pink roses that her landlady had given her.
And the girls from the Fontaine Bar hired a fishing boat, draped a banner over the side, and chugged out to the anchorage with a cargo of pale green balloons.
The sun tried to break through the overcast, but not even a blue sky could have made this anything other than a dreary day for Villefranche, a picturesque fishing village just east of Nice that clings to the slope as the Alps make their final plunge into the sea.
Its harbor is a deepwater cove flanked by two rock promontories, and it was this natural protection that led to its selection, 11 years ago as the home port for the flagship of the Sixth Fleet.
It was not a naval base. There was no fleet there and no room for it - only the Springfield, and earlier the cruisers Des Moines and Salem. There was not even a place for these ships to dock.
Rather, it was the place the flagship anchored, off and on, for a total of about 12 weeks a year. And it was where families of the married men aboard could live.
Until recently, one out of every nine Villefranchois was an American - some 80 altogether.
They lived in whatever the could find for themselves - apartments, houses and villas. There was no “Navy ghetto” and the only shore installations were a supply office, a post office, a housing office and commissary - plus Joshua Barney Elementary School.
Profit for Villages
For Villefranche there was profit, of course, not least for the local fishermen who charged 4 francs - 80 cents - for a trip out to “le grand bateau,” as the townspeople called her.
Sailors paid half price, and according to one who served aboard “there was a sort of mystique” about taking the fishermen’s “bumboats” instead of a free ride on the ship’s liberty boats.
The Springfield came here as flagship in 1960. She will relinquish this role to the cruiser Little Rock in a few days and head for an overhaul at Boston. The Little Rock will have a new homeport, at Gaeta Italy, about 60 miles north of Naples.
Yesterday Vice Admiral Frederick Ashworth, the fleet commandant, and Capt. H.H. Ries, the Springfield’s skipper dedicated a bronze plaque on the outside of the Welcome Hotel “in recognition of the warm hospitality shown by the Villefranchois during the six years of our sojourn in the harbor.”
Today, there was no ceremony on shore, just final farewells. When the last off the officers and crew had gone aboard, a few of the town’s young ladies hired a “bumboat” and followed, and then still more hired another, and another.
Shortly before 11 o'clock, the scheduled time for weighing anchor, the band began. The breeze blew half of the notes one way, half another. First “Auld Lang Syne.” Then, “I’ll Be Seeing You.” When the anchor came up, “Anchors Aweigh” and the “Marine Hymn.”
And then she put out to sea trailing her long “homeward bound” pennant aft, and one diehard “bumboat”.
Copyright The New York Times