USS Marblehead (CL-12) was an Omaha-class light cruiser, originally classified as a scout cruiser, of the United States Navy. She was the third Navy ship named for the town of Marblehead, Massachusetts.Marblehead returned to the United States, conducted a summer training cruise for Naval Academy midshipmen and then entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where she decommissioned on 1 November 1945. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 November and her hulk was scrapped on 27 February 1946.
Battle of Makassar Strait, 1942
Marblehead and other American warships then joined with those of the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to patrol the waters surrounding the Netherlands East Indies and to screen Allied shipping moving south from the Philippines. On the night of 24 January 1942, Marblehead covered the withdrawal of a force of Dutch and American warships after they had attacked, with devastating effect, an enemy convoy off Balikpapan. Six days later, in an attempt to repeat this success, the force departed Surabaja, Java, to intercept an enemy convoy concentration at Kendari. The Japanese convoy, however, sailed soon after, and the Allied force changed course, anchoring in Bunda Roads on 2 February. On the 4th, the ships steamed out of Bunda Roads and headed for another Japanese convoy sighted at the southern entrance to the Makassar Straits. At 0949, 36 enemy bombers were sighted closing in on the formation from the east.
In the ensuing Battle of Makassar Strait, Marblehead successfully maneuvered through three attacks. After the third an enemy plane spiraled toward the cruiser, but her gunners splashed it. The next minute a fourth wave of seven bombers released bombs at Marblehead. Two were direct hits and a third a near miss close aboard the port bow causing severe underwater damage. Fires swept the ship as she listed to starboard and began to settle by the bow. Her rudder jammed, Marblehead, continuing to steam at full speed, circled to port. Her gunners kept firing, while damage control crews fought the fires and helped the wounded. By 1100, the fires were under control. Before noon the enemy planes departed, leaving the damaged cruiser with 15 dead or mortally wounded and 84 seriously injured.
Marblehead’s engineers soon released the rudder angle to 9° left, and at 1255, she retired to Tjilatjap, steering by working the engines at varying speeds. She made Tjilatjap with a forward draft of 30 ft (9 m), aft 22 ft (7 m). Unable to be docked there, her worst leaks were repaired and she put to sea again on the 13th. Some of her wounded crew were taken off the ship to be cared for by Dr Corydon M. Wassell; he received the Navy Cross for protecting them from capture by the invading Japanese. When the ship left Tjilatjap it was on the first leg of a voyage of more than 9,000 mi (14,000 km) in search of complete repairs.
Still steering with her engines, she made Trincomalee, Ceylon on the 21st. Repairs could not be made there or anywhere in India for several weeks. So Marblehead departed for South Africa on 2 March. After touching at Durban and Port Elizabeth, Marblehead arrived at Simonstown on 24 March. There she underwent extensive repairs and on 15 April sailed for New York. Steaming via Recife, Brazil, she finally arrived in New York on 4 May, completing a journey of over 16,000 miles from where she was damaged in action and immediately entered drydock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.