"There are good ships and wood ships, ships that sail the sea,
but the best ships are friendships, may they always be!" -Irish Proverb
The USS TOLEDO CA-133 was a heavy cruiser,
of the Baltimore class, built by the New York Shipbuilding
Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. It was the second ship to bear the name TOLEDO, following the
USS TOLEDO PF-33, a patrol frigate, which was renamed Dearborn, on August 8, 1943. The heavy cruiser
TOLEDO was named in recognition of cities with the same name in the states of Ohio, Illinois, Iowa
and Oregon. The keel for the USS TOLEDO was laid down on September 13, 1943 and she was
launched/christened, on May 6, 1945.
Mrs. Edward J. Moan of Toledo, Ohio, was the sponsor of the TOLEDO. She was the mother of a Naval aviator,
LCDR Floyd E. Moan, who was cited for the sinking of one Japanese aircraft carrier, two cruisers and
two destroyers. The ship was christened with "Ile De Fleirs" American Champagne, brewed at Middle Base,
Ohio. The bottle was made in Toledo, Ohio, by the Illinois Glass Company.
TOLEDO was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on October 27, 1946, with Captain August J. Detzer as its first commanding officer.
TOLEDO displaced 13,600 tons, with a length of 674 feet, 11 inches, a beam of 70 feet, 10 inches and a draft of 20 feet, 6 inches. It was capable of speeds up to 33 knots and carried a crew of 1,142 officers and enlisted men. Its armament included a main battery of nine 8" guns, a secondary battery of twelve 5" guns and an anti-aircraft battery, which included forty 40mm guns, replaced by 3" guns in 1953 and twenty-eight 20mm guns,which were subsequently removed. Incidentally, the newly installed 3" guns proved effective as both an anti-aircraft battery and for shore bombardment.
On January 6, 1947, the heavy cruiser TOLEDO got under way for a two-month training cruise off the balmy waters of the West Indies. After completing shakedown training out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, she visited St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands; Kingston, Jamaica and Port-au-Prince, Haiti before returning north to Philadelphia and a three-week post-shakedown availability.
On April 14, she departed Philadelphia and shaped a course across the Atlantic. TOLEDO steamed through the Mediterranean, transited the Suez Canal, crossed the Indian Ocean, and arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on June 15th. Port visits during this cruise included; the island of Gibraltar; Port Said, Egypt; Bahrain, Persian Gulf; Ras at Tanura, Saudi Arabia; Bombay, India; Colombo, Ceylon; Manila, PI; and Singapore, Malaya. While at Bahrain and Ras at Tanura, TOLEDO flew the flag of Admiral Conolly, Commander Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. She arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on June 15,1947, and relieved USS FALL RIVER as flagship of Rear Admiral A.M.Bledsoe, Commander Support Group, Naval Forces, Far East . After June 16, 1947, she operated out of Tokyo Bay and visited ports of Shiogama, Honshu; Otaru, Hokkaido; Kobe, Kyushu; Kogashima, Nagasaki, Sasebo, Jinsen, Korea, Saishi, Quelpart Island. TOLEDO remained in the Far East visiting Japanese and Korean ports in support of occupation forces until October. On October 21st she steamed out of Yokosuka for her first trans-Pacific voyage and steamed via Pearl Harbor to Long Beach, California, where she arrived on November 5th.
TOLEDO made two more peacetime deployments to the western Pacific before the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. On April 3, 1948, she departed Long Beach in company with USS Helena CA-75 and shaped a course for Japan. She arrived in Yokosuka on April 24th and began her second tour of occupation duty patrolling for contraband smugglers. Later that spring, the cruiser made a goodwill cruise to the Indian Ocean during which she stopped at Karachi, Pakistan; Singapore, Malaya; Trincomalee, Ceylon; and Bombay, India. After her return to the northwestern Pacific, in early summer, TOLEDO operated out of Tsingtao, China, during evacuation of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Chinese forces to Taiwan. On September 16th, the warship departed the China coast and headed for Yokosuka, Japan before heading for Bremerton, Washington. She entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on October 5th for her first major overhaul.
The cruiser's refurbishment was completed on February 18, 1949; and she headed back to Long Beach for six months of training along the coasts of California, Mexico, and the Isthmus of Panama. The training cruises included NROTC Midshipman training cruises to Acapulco, Mexico and to Balboa, Canal Zone via the Galapagos Islands and Equator. Among exercises, she participated in Operation "Miki", a simulated air-sea assault on Pearl Harbor. On October 14th, TOLEDO stood out of Long Beach to participate in Operation "Miki" , on completion of that exercise; she resumed duty in the Far East. For eight months she cruised the waters between Japan, China, the Philippines, and Marianas.
TOLEDO returned to Long Beach on June 12, 1950. Less than two weeks later, at 0400 hours in the morning
of June 25th, forces of North Korea's communist regime burst across the 38th parallel and streamed south
to engulf the Republic of Korea (ROK). Ten days later, TOLEDO pointed her bow west once more and embarked
upon her fourth cruise to the Orient and her first tour of combat duty.
TOLEDO was one of the first United States warships to arrive on the scene from the mainland. She and Helena departed Long Beach for Pearl Harbor on July 6, 1950. TOLEDO commanded by Richard F. Stout, forged on alone to Sasebo, where on July 18th, Rear Admiral J.M. Higgins Commander Cruiser Division 5 and Commander Korean Support Group, Task Group 96.5, shifted his flag aboard from the anti-aircraft cruiser Juneau. On July 26, 1950 she departed for Korea. The cruiser took up station off the eastern coast of Korea a few miles north of Pohang, near Yongdok. She teamed up with Destroyer Division 91 to form one of the two alternating East Coast Support Elements of Task Group, TG 95.5. From July 27th to 30th, TOLEDO, Mansfield DD-728, Lyman K. Swenson DD-729, and Collett DD-730 bombarded North Korean communication arteries, which started at Yongdok and ran north between the mountains and the sea to the 38th parallel. At about noon on August 4, 1950, Communist troops and horses could clearly be seen on the beach, and TOLEDO opened fire, starting so many blazes in a native village that the troops were lost in the smoke. Two hours later , they could be seen fighting fires. TOLEDO's guns barked again.
The first salvo landed in the middle
of the troops. The results were bigger fires and no more troops. The following day, her 8-inch guns,
directed by airborne controllers, rendered call-fire for the front-line troops.
TOLEDO then moved some 70 miles north to the area around Samchok where she cruised along a 25 mile stretch of coastline and shelled a number of targets. During that interdiction run, she demolished a bridge, chewed up highway intersections, and generally wreaked havoc on communist supply lines. On August 6th, Helena relieved TOLEDO, enabling her to return to Sasebo for upkeep.
The warship resumed station off the Korean coast on August 15th and operated with Rochester CA-124, Mansfield, Collet, and Lyman K. Swenson, along a 40-mile length of coast from Songjin south to Iwon. After a number of bombardment missions, she returned to Sasebo again on August 26th and remained there until August 31st when she headed for a week of duty off Pohang Dong.
Marines, stormed Wolmi Do's defenses. Meanwhile, TOLEDO redirected her fire to support the 1 TOLEDO's next important mission was the landing at Inchon in mid-September. The heavily armed and fortified island, Wolmi Do, located in the harbor, threatened the success of the operation. Therefore, TOLEDO and her previous consorts, augmented by Gurke DD-783, DeHaven DD-727 and Royal Navy warships HMS Jamaica, and HMS Kenya, entered the harbor to silence the islands guns on September 13th. The destroyers led the way through the mine-infested channel and moved in close to draw enemy fire while the cruisers stood off waiting for the North Koreans to betray their positions. By early afternoon, the artillery duel had begun, and the enemy suffered most. That evening the cruisers and destroyers retired for the night. They returned the next day to finish the job. Then after two days of preparatory bombardment the marines of the 3rd Battalion Landing Team, 5th Marines who were about to land on Blue Beach just south of Inchon proper. After reportedly destroying three gun emplacements and a number of machine gun nests, closing two tunnels, hitting trenches and mortar positions, TOLEDO shifted to support troops mopping up bypassed pockets of enemy resistance. On October 5th the Commanding General of the 10th Corps, U.S. Army, sent the following message:
I desire to express my appreciation for the outstanding support rendered the Tenth Corps by the gunfire support ships of your command. The effective and accurate fire greatly assisted the advance of the troops ashore. The USS Rochester and the USS TOLEDO provided the only heavy fire support available to them in the capture of Kurnod Peninsula, and in order to provide maximum range and support, placed themselves in highly vulnerable positions. Their fire was of great assistance and undoubtedly hastened the advance of UN Forces and prevented many casualties.On October 6th, TOLEDO left for Sasebo.
The cruiser reached Yokosuka on November 7th and began her seventh deployment to the Far East. Though the Korean
conflict had ended the previous summer, American forces continued to patrol the waters along the Korean peninsula,
and TOLEDO joined them in the endeavor. In fact, she spent the next six months operating out of Sasebo and
Yokosuka in the waters between Japan and Korea and in the East China Sea. She visited Pusan, Inchon, and Pohang
as well as Okinawa and Hong Kong. In addition to patrolling the neutral waters off the Korean coast, she
periodically conducted exercises with the carriers of Task Force 77.
On April 13, 1954, the warship entered Yokosuka for upkeep following exercises in the Sea of Japan and preparatory to her return home. Three days later, she began her trans-Pacific passage. She made the usual call at Pearl Harbor and tied up at Long Beach on May Day.
With one exception, TOLEDO's eighth deployment to the Far East set the pattern for all those that followed. After almost five months of normal operations along the western coast of the United States, the cruiser cleared Long Beach on September 14th flying the flag of Rear Admiral Ralph E. Wilson, Commander Cruiser Division Three. She stopped at Pearl Harbor on the 21st for five days of rest and relaxation and then continued her voyage to Yokosuka where she arrived on November 7th. For the most part, her deployment consisted of training operations, goodwill calls at a number of ports, and general patrol and show-the-flag duties. Shortly thereafter she joined the Seventh Fleet as a unit of Task Force 75. During the first three months of this cruise, TOLEDO made visits to the Japanese ports of Kobe, Nagasaki and Beppu; and, to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. On December 10, 1953, Captain W. A. Cockell, USN, relieved Captain F.B.C. Martin, USN, as commanding officer.
After spending Christmas 1954 and New Years 1955 in Yokosuka, TOLEDO visited Subic Bay and Manila, Philippine Islands. The single exception: In January 1955, while in waters off Korea, TOLEDO was ordered to rejoin Task Force 77 and in February 1955, in company with the fast carrier Task Force 77, she steamed into the Tachen Islands to take positions for the evacuation of Chinese Nationalist personnel. Taking a position 1,500 yards from the Islands, TOLEDO served as flagship for the Naval Gunfire Support Group, which provided close-in support to the amphibious craft engaged in the evacuation. She then sailed to conduct shore bombardment exercises off Okinawa.
On March 5, 1955, she departed Japan in company with USS Pittsburgh CA-72 to return to the United States and arrived in Long Beach 17 days later.
During April and May 1955, TOLEDO conducted operations off the coast of Southern California. On May 6, 1955, Captain Theodore A. Torgeson, USN, relieved Captain W.A. Cockell, USN, as commanding officer. In June 1955, TOLEDO visited Portland, Oregon, for the annual Rose Festival and on June 16, 1955, arrived Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, for a four-months period of overhaul.
TOLEDO's active Navy career lasted four more years. During that period, she made four more deployments to the western Pacific. All except one consisted of routine operations, conducted out of bases in Japan and in the Philippines. The one exception came early in 1958. The cruiser cleared the west coast on February and reached Japan early in March. However, after visiting Sasebo and Yokosuka, she headed south to Australia, rather than to normal 7th Fleet operations. She reached Sydney on April 30th and remained there for five days as a guest of the Australian government during the anniversary celebration of the Battle of the Coral Sea. After Sydney, TOLEDO also visited Melbourne before returning north to Japan via Okinawa to resume 7th Fleet operations. The deployment ended on August 26th, 1958, when TOLEDO steamed back into Long Beach.
After various training and shakedown cruises plus visits to various cities on the West Coast of the United States, the TOLEDO departed Long Beach on June 9, 1959 for the Far East WestPac and duty with the 7th Fleet. A few of the jobs assigned to TOLEDO and TOLEDO men during the cruise was to guard the seaways,
show the flag, and carry the
friendship of the United States to our Asian allies.
While in the Western Pacific, TOLEDO visited Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Buckner Bay, Okinawa; in Japan visited Yokosuka, Nagasaki, Sasebo, Toyama, Hakodate, Sendai, Yokohama; Hong Kong, B.C.C.; Subic Bay, Philippine Islands; Saigon, South Viet Nam in Indo China and Guam. The TOLEDO arrived back in her home port of Long Beach, California on November 25, 1959.
A video clip was filmed by Nicholas A. Natsios, Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Embassy Saigon of the USS TOLEDO CA-133
in October,1959 while Toledo was in Vietnam.
The video clip was digitized from 16mm Kodachrome Film to DVD December 2005 by Deborah Natsios.
We wish to thank the Natsios family for their authorization to use and display the copyrighted video clip on this web page for the benefit of the shipmates who served aboard her.
On January 5, 1960, she entered Long Beach Naval Shipyard to begin inactivation overhaul. TOLEDO completed preparations and was placed out of commission at Long Beach on May 21, 1960, after 14 years of service in the cause of world peace. The TOLEDO was replaced by a light cruiser that carried 6" guns and a more modern missile system. She was moved to San Diego soon thereafter and remained there, in reserve, for the next 14 years. On January 1, 1974, her name was struck from the Navy list, and she was sold to the National Metal and Steel Corporation on October 30, 1974. National Metal and Steel Corporation started the actual dismantling and cutting up of the heavy cruiser USS TOLEDO CA-133 on April 25, 1975, just two weeks short of the 30th anniversary of TOLEDO's christening.