Quincy (CA-39) was laid down by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass., 15 November 1933; launched 19 June 1935; sponsored by Mrs. Henry S. Morgan,. and commissioned at Boston 9 June 1936, Capt. William Faulkner Amsden in command.
Soon after being assigned to Cruiser Division 8 Atlantic Fleet, Quincy was ordered to Mediterranean waters 20 July 1936 to protect American interests in Spain during the height of the Spanish Civil War. Quincy passed through the Straits of Gibraltar 26 July and arrived at Malaga, Spain, 27 July to assume her duties. While in Spanish waters she operated with an international rescue fleet that included the German pocket-battleships Deutschland, Admiral Graf Spec and Admiral Scheer. Quincy evacuated 490 refugees to Marseilles and Villefranche, France, before being relieved by Raleigh 27 September.
Quincy returned to the Boston Navy Yard 5 October for refit preparatory to final acceptance trials which were held 15-18 March 1937. She got underway for the Pacific 12 April to join Cruiser Division 7, transited the Panama Canal 23-27 April and arrived at Pearl Harbor 10 May.
Quincy sortied with Cruiser Divisions Pacific Fleet 20 May on a tactical exercise which was the first of many such maneuvers that she participated in during 1937 and 1938. From 15 March-28 April, she engaged in important battle practice off Hawaii with the Pacific Fleet in Fleet Problem XIX. After an overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard, Quincy resumed tactical operations with her division off San Clemente, Calif. until her redeployment to the Atlantic 4 January 1939.
Quincy transited the Panama Canal 13 January bound for Guantanamo Bay where she engaged in gunnery practice and amphibious exercises. She also took part in Fleet Problem XX with the Atlantic Fleet 13-26 February. Quincy later made a South American good will tour 10 April-12 June, and upon returning to Norfolk, embarked reservists for three training cruises 9 July-24 August. She spent the remainder of 1939 on patrol in the North Atlantic due to the outbreak of World War II.
After overhaul at Norfolk until 4 May 1940, Quincy again visited Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, returning to Norfolk 22 September. She completed three more reserve training cruises 1 October-20 December.
Quincy was occupied in Atlantic Fleet maneuvers and landing force exercises off Culebra Island, P.R. 3 February-1 April 1941. With the growth of hostilities in Europe, she was ordered to Task Group 2 and operated with Wasp in the mid-Atlantic preserving U.S. neutrality 26 April-6 June. Later she operated with Yorktown and Task Group 28 until sailing for home 14 July.
On 28 July 1941 Quincy sailed with Task Group 16 for Iceland on neutrality duty which included a patrol in the Denmark Straits 21-24 September. She returned to Newfoundland with a convoy 31 October. Quincy then proceeded to Capetown, South Africa, via Trinidad, where she met a convoy which she escorted back to Trinidad 29 December 1941.
Quincy returned 2.5 January 1942 to Icelandic waters on convoy duty with Task Force 15 and made a patrol in the Denmark Straits 8-11 March. She departed 14 March for the U.S. and an overhaul at the New York Navy Yard that lasted until the end of May.
Quincy sailed for San Diego 5 June via the Panama Canal and arrived 19 June. She was then assigned to Task Force 18 as the flagship of Rear Admiral Norman R. Scott, Commander Cruisers.
Quincy got underway for the South Pacific in July with other vessels assembling for the invasion of Guadalcanal.
Prior to the Marine assault on Guadalcanal 7 August, Quincy destroyed several Japanese installations and an oil depot during her bombardment of Lunga Point. She later provided close fire support for the Marines during the landing.
While on patrol in the channel between Florida Island and Savo Island, in the early hours of 9 August 1942 Quincy was attacked by a large Japanese naval force and sank after sustaining many direct hits with all guns out of action. Quincy earned one battle star during World War II.