USS Cleveland (CL-55) was the lead ship and one of the 26 United States Navy Cleveland class light cruisers completed during or shortly after World War II. She was the second ship to be named for the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Cleveland was commissioned in June 1942, and saw extensive service in the war, in both the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters. Like almost all of her sister ships, she was decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, and never saw active service again. Cleveland was scrapped in the early 1960s.
Clearing Norfolk's Chesapeake Bay on 10 October 1942, Cleveland joined a task force off Bermuda (on 29 October) bound for the invasion of North Africa – the first new class of ship to enter World War II. Her firepower supported the landings at Fedhala, French Morocco on 8 November, and she remained on patrol until 12 November, returning to Norfolk on 24 November.
Cleveland sailed for the Pacific on 5 December 1942, and arrived at Efate Island on 16 January. Her first mission in the consolidation of the Solomon Islands was with Task Force 18 (TF 18) to guard a troop convoy to Guadalcanal from 27-31 January, Cleveland fired on the enemy as she came under heavy air attack in the Battle of Rennell Island on the 29th-30th.
Joining TF 68, Cleveland steamed up "the Slot" on 6 March 1943 to bombard Japanese airfields at Vila on Kolombangara, then joined in the night action which sank Minegumo and Murasame in the battle of Blackett Strait.