I am interested in getting as much information that I can relative
to the USS Astoria, it's mission, how it fared during the conflict,
and most of all what was done in commemoration of the fallen sailors
that went down with the ship. The reason for my inquiry is that I
am the name sake of Robert Raymond Collins, Gunner's Mate First
Class, who was my great uncle and was aboard the USS Astoria at
the time of the Battle of Savo Island. For your information,
I now have a replacement Purple Heart that was awarded to "Red",
posthumously, and was in the care of one of his older brothers
for quite a few years following the war. When this brother died,
it was understood, that I, the namesake of Robert Raymond Collins,
would be given his Purple Heart for safe keeping. When it came
time to clean out the house of the brother, the Purple Heart was
no where to be found. Late last year, before our Congress Woman,
Helen Chenowith, left office, I contacted her and asked for her
help in obtaining a replacement Purple Heart. After about 6 months,
I contacted the office of The Honorable Butch Otter, the current
representative for the 1st District, State of Idaho and asked about
the whereabouts of the Purple Heart. Miraculously, it was in the
office, and had been there for about a month. The people in the
office were so thankful that they were able to finally place the
medal in the hands of someone that was looking for it. Since
that time, I contacted a Naval Liaison Office, in St. Louis,
seeking anymore information and more specifically, a copy of
the original declaration and award certificate that I am assuming
accompanies such decorations. I want to give the medal its
special place in display in my office, where it will be seen by
young and old and will allow me to tell the story of a young
seaman who gave his life in defense of our country. At the
time of his death, I believe he was 27. He was born in August,
1914, the thirteenth child, eleven brothers and one sister,
my grandmother, my mom's mom. My mom was born in April of 1914
and had an "uncle" that a was 4 months younger than her.
There is a lot more about this family that is so interesting,
but most important to me, at this time is to get as much
information about the USS Astoria and its last days.
Thank you for your help.
Rather than transcribe data, I will give some web addresses.
To see where this cruiser fits into the USN lineup, try
After WWI, the Naval Disarmament Conference limited first battleships
and then cruisers. The British wanted many light cruisers with
which to patrol their sea lanes. The US wanted heavy cruisers to
sail the long distances of the Pacific. The compromise was to
use light cruiser size, less than 10,000 tons, but we could put
8" guns on ours and they would put 6" guns on theirs.
(The heavy guns limited the range of our ships, so we had to
develop at-sea refueling which was a great aid during the war.)
As war approached, on the same sized " treaty " ships, we put 15- 6"
guns, which made them top heavy. Based on war experience,
heavy cruisers were upped 36% in size, to 13,600 tons, and the
10,000 ton size of light cruisers were reduced to carry 12- 6".
The ships history of Astoria (CA-34) is given at:
This history is about as complete as one can get, better than
on some other ships, possibly because Astoria had a short life.
Ships activities by date:
There are over 360 web sites relating to Astoria. Many are about
other ships or events which just mention the Astoria as present.
I use search engine: http://alltheweb.com/
with search for two things together : Astoria CA-34
Order a paintings at http://www.windjammer-arts.com/CC.htm
Crew reunions used to be held. There was one in 1996
And another: USS Astoria CA-34 #17942, 7 Aug 1998.
I didn't find any since. Also do not find memorials.
One of the reasons I started the "Pacific War, the early years",
web site is because the nation knows so little about the early-war period.
Chat room with requests similar to yours.
Hope this helps.