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    Pearl Harbor Ship - USS New Orleans (CA 32) - 3rd Most Decorated Ship of WWII. USS New Orleans (CL/CA-32) was the lead ship of her class. She was commissioned in 1934 and spent her prewar years in both the Atlantic and Pacific. She was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

    The ensign of the New Orleans is a 48-star, 96" X 132", wool, double applique, sewn stripe flag finished with a header and grommets. It has a maker's mark for a "Sterling" brand Annin & Co. flag; a better-quality flag from nation's oldest and largest flag company. The flag is marked on the upper hoist and on either side of the label, "New Orleans (CA 32) 17 BATTLE STARS" [LABLE] and, "THIS REPLACEMENT FLAG ISSUED 2 DEC. 42 ORIGINAL DESTROYED BY JAP PLANE 3 NOV 43."

    On December 7th the New Orleans was in Berth 16 at Pearl Harbor for an overhaul to her engines and she was taking power from the dock. The attack began at approximately 8:00 A.M. and the New Orleans was plunged into darkness when dock power was cut. Crewmen on deck began to fire at attacking Japanese planes with small arms and what ammunition that was available in deck guns ready boxes. Below decks sailors, without power for the ammunition hoists and using flashlights lights and battle lanterns, began to manually lift ammunition to the topside guns. This heroic action inspired the popular WWII ditty, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition."New Orleans was able to bring all of her anti-aircraft guns to bear within ten minutes. A flight of ten Japanese dive bombers attacked berths 14 through 19 and the New Orleans, assisted by the USS Honolulu drove them off. Only three bombs were dropped, two failed to explode and a third detonated near New Orleans causing only minor damage and no casualties.

    After completing new engine repairs, New Orleans sortied from Pearl before sailing to San Francisco for an overhaul. She escorted a convoy to Australia before returning to Hawaii to join Task Force 11. She fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 4-8, 1942) where she rescued over 500 crewmen from the badly damaged USS Lexington, before returning to Pearl Harbor. She was at the Battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942) and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons (August 24-25, 1942). The New Orleans, now at sea for over two months, was critically low on food and returned to Pearl Harbor for replenishment.

    She returned to the Eastern Solomons in November of 1942 and participated in the night battle of Battle of Tassafaronga (November 30, 1942). New Orleans was struck by a Japanese Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo, detonating her forward magazines and severing her bow. The bow remained afloat and swung around to the port making several contacts with hull causing the New Orleans to be holed each time and finally damaging the port propeller and; thus, becoming the only ship in the US Navy to ram herself! The damage was severe. She was afire, had lost 25% of her length (everything forward of her #2 turret), had numerous waterline holes, and only one propeller.

    Her damage control parties doused the fire, controlled the flooding, cleared away wreckage, and limped to a nearby anchorage to make repairs for the next eleven days. She sailed stern first to Australia where an emergency refit made her seaworthy enough to sail, again stern first, for the United States. There, all the battle damage was repaired and she was refitted. Her boilers, machinery, and hull structures were all overhauled into almost new condition. She rejoined the fleet at Pearl Harbor in August of 1943 and participated in shore bombardments of Wake Island, the Gilbert Islands, and the Marshall Islands for the rest of the year.

    New Orleans spent 1944 cruising all over most of the South Pacific theatre where she earned the bulk of her campaign stars for screening carriers, participating in shore bombardments, providing anti-aircraft support, and ship to ship combat variously at the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll, the Caroline Islands, New Guinea, the Marianas, Truk, Saipan, Tinian, the Philippine Sea and the Battle of the Leyte Gulf where she assisted in the sinking of the light carrier Chiyoda and the destroyer Hatsuzuki. In late 1944, she sailed for Mare Island for refit.

    She returned to duty in April of 1945 in time to participate in the battle for Okinawa. She remained on station for the next two months then she returned to the Philippines for replenishment where she was when hostilities ceased. She participated in occupation duties and Operation Magic Carpet, the repatriation of U.S. servicemen.

    This ensign presents a unique opportunity for a WWII naval, war in the Pacific, a cruiser, or a Pearl Harbor collector.

    The USS New Orleans was among four US Navy warships to be awarded 17 campaign stars. She shares the honor of being the 3rd most decorated ship with USS San Francisco (CA-38); USS O'Bannon (DD-450) and the USS Minneapolis (CA-36). For her service in WWII the New Orleans was awarded the Navy Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with the Fleet Clasp, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with 17 campaign stars, the World War II Victory Medal. and the Navy World War II Occupation Medal with the ASIA Clasp. Her crew was awarded 5 Navy Crosses, 10 Silver Stars, 1 Bronze Star, 1 Air Medal, and 206 Purple Hearts. Additionally, during WWII, five warships were named for USS New Orleans crewmen who perished in the Battle of Tassafaronga.

    Condition: The ensign of the New Orleans is in good to fair condition. It is used, worn, repaired, and soiled with numerous small holes; eight "L" tears - indicative of having been caught on some obstruction during use. There are also several splits in the fabric, but otherwise the flag is complete.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    6th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 490

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