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USS Chester supported the landing on Samoa (18-24 January 1942), and after repairs joined TF 17 for the Guadalcanal-Tulagi raid, the attack on Misima Island and the Battle of the Coral Sea, defending the carriers with anti-aircraft fire.
She thereafter provided fire support at Tarawa, the lead ship of the operation, and covered other landings in the Island-Hopping campaign of the USMC. Later in the war, she conducted patrols off Okinawa and was assigned to the force providing air cover for the Coats Striking Group off the Yangtze River Delta.
Surviving the war, she embarked homeward-bound troops at Iwo Jima and sailed for San Francisco. One final voyage to Guam brought home further servicemen. She arrived at Philadelphia on 30 January 1946, and later that year was placed out of commission in reserve.