From Official US Navy files by Jake Jaekel


In 1941 Detroit's home port became Pearl Harbor. She was moored at her base with Raleigh (CL-7) and Utah (AG-16) when the Japanese attacked 7 December. The other two ships bore the brunt of an attack by six torpedo planes, and despite several strafing passes Detroit was able to get underway safely and set up an antiaircraft fire which accounted for several planes. She was ordered to sail at once to investigate the west coast of Oahu for any indications of a landing by the Japanese, then to join the search for the retiring Japanese force.

Returning to Pearl Harbor 10 December 1941, Detroit took up convoy escort duty between her home port and the west coast. On one of these voyages she took on board 9 tons of gold and 13 tons of silver from Trout (SS-202) who had evacuated it from Corregidor and delivered the bullion to the U.S. Treasury Department at San Francisco. In September 1942 Detroit escorted two convoys to Pago Pago, Samoa, rescuing the crew of a downed PBY during one passage.

Detroit sailed from San Francisco 10 November 1942 for Kodiak, Alaska, to become flagship for Commander, Task Group 8.6, and patrol between Adak and Attu to prevent further enemy penetration of the Aleutians. On 12 January 1943 she covered the unopposed landings made on Amchitka to gain a base from which to cut the Japanese supply line, and after repairs at Bremerton in February and March, returned to patrol duty to intercept reinforcements trying to reach the Japanese garrisons on Kiska and Attu. In April she bombarded Holtz Bay and Chicago Harbor on Attu, returning the next month to join in the assault and capture of the island. In August she took part in the bombardments of Kiska, then covered the lands 15 August which revealed that the island, the last outpost held by the Japanese in the Aleutians, had been secretly evacuated.

Detroit remained in Alaskan waters until 1944 operating with the covering group for the western Aleutian bases. In June 1944 she saw action with TF 94 during the bombardment of shore installations in the Kuriles. She sailed from Adak 25 June and after repairs at Bremerton, arrived at Balboa 9 August to serve as temporary flagship of the Southeast Pacific Force. She patrolled on the west coast of South America until December.

Clearing San Francisco 16 January 1945, Detroit arrived at Ulithi 4 February for duty with the 5th Fleet. She acted as flagship for the replenishment group serving the fast carrier task forces until the end of the war, and entered Tokyo Bay 1 September. Detroit continued to direct replenishment operations for the occupation fleet and in addition, the repatriation of Japanese to the home islands from Pacific bases. She left Tokyo Bay 15 October for the States with returning servicemen on board. Detroit was decommissioned at Philadelphia 11 January 1946, and sold 27 February 1946.

Detroit received six battle stars for World War II service.