The second USS Newport News (CA–148) was a Des Moines-class heavy cruiser in the United States Navy. Newport News was laid down 1 November 1945; launched on 6 March 1948 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia. The vessel was sponsored by Mrs. Homer L. Ferguson upon commissioning on 29 January 1949, Captain Roland N. Smoot commanding. She was the first air-conditioned surface ship in the United States Navy.
In addition to annual deployments to the Mediterranean from 1950 to 1961 for duty with the Sixth Fleet, she participated in major fleet exercises and midshipman training cruises in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic. In early September 1957, Newport News was on station in the Eastern Mediterranean in preparation for any contingency during the Syrian crisis. In March 1960, while steaming 75 miles northeast of Sicily, Newport News was ordered to proceed to Agadir, Morocco, to render assistance to the survivors of that earthquake-shattered city. She steamed 1,225 miles in 40.5 hours at an average speed of 31 knots, arriving on 3 March to provide medical and material aid. With the assassination of General Trujillo and the resulting instability in Santo Domingo, Newport News was underway on short notice on 4 June 1961, and proceeded to a station in international waters off the Dominican Republic to await further orders. When the crisis terminated, the ship returned to Norfolk after conducting training exercises off Puerto Rico.
Operations from 1963 through 1967 consisted primarily of NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, gunnery and amphibious exercises off the Eastern seaboard and Caribbean, and midshipman cruises. When the Dominican Republic crisis of 1965 developed, Newport News sortied from Norfolk on 29 April for Santo Domingo, where she was flagship for Commander Joint Task Force 122. Newport News remained on station off Santo Domingo until 7 May 1965 when JTF 122 was dissolved, and command was shifted to the Army ashore in the Dominican Republic. She returned to Norfolk, where in June alterations were made to increase her combat capabilities. On June 28, 1965, Newport News entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va. for a five month period of refitting and overhaul, a regular part of the life cycle of a warship. Shakedown was in Guantanamo, Cuba, over Christmas and New Year of 1965. It was no picnic, as those who were there can attest to. "Combat ready" was a way of life, sometimes more than 10 hours at a time. Swimming, softball, and drinking were the favorite pastimes. Upon her return from Gitmo, Newport News once again became Flagship for Second Fleet, Vice Admiral Masterson taking command.