Departing Long Beach, Ca. on 4 May 1959, USS ST.PAUL CA-73 became the first forward deployed U.S. Navy ship homeported in the Far East since pre WWII. Relieving USS ROCHESTER CA-124 as Flagship for ComSeventhFlt (C7F) & homeported in Yokosuka, Japan she would hold that command until the day after Christmas 1961. USS OKLAHOMA CITY CLG-5 would then assume duty as Flagship. USS ST. PAUL remained on station thru August 1962 before returning to Long Beach. USS ST. PAUL would make five (5) deployments to WestPac thru the 1960’s before being de-commissioned 30 April 1971 in Bremerton, Washington & sold for scrap in 1980.
USS OKLAHOMA CITY CLG-5 (former CL-91) was re-commissioned on 7 Sept 1960. Thru the end of 1960 & into 1961 she served as Flagship for ComCruDiv 3 & ComCruDesFlot 9. She participated in “Fleet Week” activities during Oct. 1961 in San Francisco prior to her first deployment to WestPac. On 1 Dec 1961 USS OKLAHOMA CITY deployed for the first of three (3) deployments as Flagship for C7F. In route to Yokosuka, Japan she participated in the 20th anniversary ceremonies at Pearl Harbor 7 Dec 1961. Arriving in Yokosuka on 20 Dec, she assumed duty as Flagship on 26 Dec 1961. She was relieved as Flagship 12 May 1962 by USS PROVIDENCE CLG-6. USS OKLAHOMA CITY returned to Long Beach 12 June 1962 & on 14 Dec 1962 entered the shipyard there for extensive overhaul.
USS OKLAHOMA CITY began refresher training (reftra) exercises in early 1964. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan on 7 July 1964 & relieved USS PROVIDENCE as Flagship. USS OKLAHOMA CITY remained in WestPac 2 1/2 years as Flagship & was again relieved by USS PROVIDENCE 1 Dec 1966. She returned to San Francisco 15 Dec 1966 for yet another overhaul.
USS PROVIDENCE remained deployed as Flagship into Nov 1968 & again relieved by USS OKLAHOMA CITY on 26 Nov. Returning to the 1st Fleet, USS PROVIDENCE remained active into the 1970’s. She was de-commissioned 31 August 1973 & sold for scrap in 1980.
After deploying for her third & final tour of duty as Flagship for C7F, USS OKLAHOMA CITY CLG-5 was re-classified as USS OKLAHOMA CITY CG-5 on 30 June 1975. She remained on station as Flagship until Oct. 1979. She was relieved as Flagship by USS BLUE RIDGE LCC-19 (formally designated AGC-19)on 5 Oct. 1979. USS OKLAHOMA CITY returned to San Francisco & was de-commissioned in San Diego 15 Dec 1979. She remained in “mothballs” for the next twenty (20) years. In March 1999 she was deployed on her final mission. After being towed from Calif. to Hawaii & then off the coast of Guam, she was “put to the bottom” in a torpedo exercise. We, the former crewmembers, are very proud of the fact that she sleeps in the waters that she patrolled for three decades. “Rest in Peace, old girl. You’ll not be forgotten”.
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I was a C7F flag Radioman. I served 2 months on the Okie City, then I served 24 months on the Providence, then I went back to the Okie City for another 2 months.
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