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Did the NYNY have capabilities that other...
yards did not have? It seems that most heavily damaged ships, Marblehead or Franklyn, were sent there.
The WWII life and death of the USS Houston is best covered in this book the Java Sea Campaign of 1941–42.
After the damage of Makassar the Marblehead was no longer an operational combat vessel, due to popped rivets used in her construction her sea worthiness was very much in doubt until arrival at the Brooklyn naval yard for repairs. Indeed, after her eventual arrival for repairs in the USA in May of '42 it took 5 months for the rebuild and she never returned to the Pacific.
The Houston was still a viable combat asset. Her remaining fire power still made her equal of the HMS Exeter . The reasons for her keeping on station was Houston was the flagship of the ll fated US Asiatic Squadron and her fate is described in the book Java Sea Campaign of 1941–42.
As was noted by other posters, with the exception of the stern 8" turret the Houston was operational.
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