USS Salem served a distinguished ten-year career as flagship of the US Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Second Fleet in the Atlantic. During her career she served as host to such notables as the US Ambassador to Spain, John D. Lodge; the Honorable Thomas S. Gates, Undersecretary of the Navy; Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; the Shah of Iran; the President of Lebanon and the King and Queen of Greece.
Although Salem never fired her mighty guns in anger, her very presence served as a stimulus for peace during those troubled times that came to be called the Cold War. She served as a Lady of Diplomacy, rather than as a means of exerting brute force.
Imagine a small city placed in “mothballs”, stored for 35 years, and then reopened and restored to its former glory. When USS Salem was decommissioned on 30 January 1959 and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president of the United States and everyone was watching I Love Lucy on their new television.
In October of 1994, Salem once again made her way north to her birthplace in Quincy, where she is now the centerpiece of the United States Naval and Shipbuilding Museum. On 14 May 1995 – 46 years to the day since her original commissioning – Salem was re-commissioned – this time as a member of the Historic Naval Ships Association. She now serves her country once again with her new mission of teaching people of all generations our nation’s rich history of shipbuilding and naval duty. Quincy’s proud shipbuilding history comes to life aboard this Cold War-era heavy cruiser. Salem serves as home to the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum and “Kilroy Was Here” catchphrase. Onboard exhibits feature memorabilia of over 100 U.S. Naval Cruisers including the City’s namesake U.S.S. Quincy and U.S.S. Newport News, a Military Weapons Display and Archives, and Model Ships collection.
History Camp is a project of the non-profit organization The Pursuit of History. We hope you’ll join us in the pursuit of history.