Built for the US Navy shortly after World War II, the USS Salem (CA-139) is a Des Moines-class heavy cruiser. Construction of the ship began on July 4, 1945 at the Bethlehem Steel Co.at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on March 25, 1947, and commissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on May 14, 1949. Her main battery had the world’s first automatic 8” guns, which were the first to use cased ammo instead of shell and bag.
The USS Salem served as the flagship of the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Second Fleet in the Atlantic. During this time she hosted the Shah of Iran; the President of Lebanon; the King and Queen of Greece; US Ambassador to Spain, John D. Lodge; the Honorable Thomas S. Gates, Undersecretary of the Navy; and Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN, Chief of Naval Operations.
Her battery was never fired in battle, and she was decommissioned on January 30, 1959. She became part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. In October 1994, the USS Salem returned to Quincy to become part of the United States Naval and Shipbuilding Museum. She was recommissioned on May 14, 1995, as part of the Historic Naval Ships Association.
Matt Lambros MA Quincy Jul 02, 2022 History Places to Visit