The Cleveland-class light cruiser proved instrumental to Victory in the Pacific for the United States Navy (USN) in World War 2 (1939-1945). Its importance at the outbreak of war in 1941 was such that fifty-two of these multirole vessels were planned but the end of the war in 1945 saw that only twenty-seven of the class would be completed. Nine were converted to aircraft carriers and a further thirteen were modified to make up the Fargo-class (detailed elsewhere on this site).
USS Galveston (CL-93) was born from the Cleveland-class work and saw her keel laid down on February 20th, 1944 by William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding as the war had yet to be decided. Launched on April 22nd, 1945, the vessel did not take part in any action of the war (which ended in August-September of 1945) and was not even complete when work on her was suspended on June 24th, 1946. After some time on hold with the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, she was reworked as a guided-missile cruiser with hull identifier "CLG-93" on February 4th, 1956 and became the lead ship of the new "Galveston-class". On May 23rd, 1957, she was redesignated yet again - finally becoming USS Galveston (CLG-3).
In its modified form, the warship retained much of her fighting form - dimensions included an overall length of 610 feet, a beam of 66.3 feet, and a draught down to 25.5 feet. Power was from 4 x Steam boilers feeding 4 x Geared steam turbines developing 100,000 horsepower to drive 4 x Shafts under stern, Maximum speed reached 32.5 knots and range was out to 11,000 nautical miles.
The changes made to the ship naturally resulted in some changes to the ship's internal and external makeup. Among these was an increase of crew size from 1,255 officers and enlisted to 1,426 personnel. The armament suite was also addressed and became 6 x 6" (150mm) /47 caliber Mark 16 main guns in two triple-gunned turrets, 6 x 5" (130mm) /38 caliber Mark 32 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns, and - perhaps most importantly - 1 x Mark 7 "Talos" Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) twin-rail launcher unit with 46 missile reloads.
In comparison, the original warship was planned with 12 x 6" guns in four turrets, 12 x 5" guns, 10 x 40mm AA guns, and 21 x 20mm AA guns.
USS Galveston began operational service in June of 1958 when she headed to see to conduct her requisite trials before training in the West Indies during early 1959. In February of that year, she fired the first Talos missile of USN history.
Like other warships of the period, Galveston was pressed into wartime service during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) in 1965 where her guns were used in anger against enemy forces as part of the 7th Fleet. Beyond this, her vital anti-aircraft systems also provided airspace deterrence for advancing ground forces. With a break from the war, the ship returned stateside (San Diego) and modernized and overhauled before undertaking training. Before the end of 1967, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. Her final actions were recorded in 1968-1969 when she fired her guns once more at enemy forces in the Vietnam Conflict, lobbing some 3,500 projectiles in the span of nine days. In February of 1969, she arrived stateside before transiting the Panama Canal back to the East Coast and took on work in the Atlantic Theater.
On May 25th, 1970, USS Galveston (CLG-3) was decommissioned from USN service. Her name was struck from the Naval Register on December 21st, 1973 and her stripped hull was sold for scrapping on May 16th, 1975 bringing about her formal end.