The third USS Salem (CA-139) is one of three Des Moines-class heavy cruisers completed for the United States Navy shortly after World War II. Commissioned in 1949, she was the world's last heavy cruiser to enter service and the only one still in existence. She was decommissioned in 1959, after serving in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She is open to the public as a museum ship in Quincy, Massachusetts.
USS Salem was laid down on 4 July 1945 by the Bethlehem Steel Co.'s Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass.; launched on 25 March 1947; sponsored by Miss Mary G. Coffey; and commissioned on 14 May 1949, Captain J. C. Daniel in command. Her main battery held the world's first automatic 8" guns and were the first 8" naval guns to use cased ammunition instead of shell and bag loading.
After a visit to Salem, Mass., on 4 July 1949, Salem underwent three months of shakedown at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, between July and October 1949, followed by post-shakedown repairs at the Boston Navy Yard. She then made two cruises to Guantanamo in November and December 1949, and participated in maneuvers with the Atlantic Fleet in early 1950.
On the cruiser's first visit to Salem(its namesake) there was a silver service presentation. Thousands visited. Dignitaries present were: Mayor Joseph Harrington, Congressman Bill Bates, and Col. Roland W. Estey.
- Vertical File in Salem Collection - USS Salem
- "Cruiser's first visit is memorable event" Salem Evening News, July 5, 1949, p. 1