Markings records are a bit confused for the period between September 1937 (when Philadelphia was commissioned) and June 1938 (when CruDiv Eight was activated). While the application of divisional markings to the forward turrets and ship markings to the after turrets had been approved in August 1937, the Fleet did not specify markings for cruiser divisions 8 and 9 at that time. Aircraft were first delivered with solid Willow Green tail colors for CruDiv Eight, but there’s no indication that forward turret tops were also to have been painted solid green. The twin black stripe turret and tail markings were first assigned to CD8 on 16 May 1938. (The use of a single stripe distinguishing heavy cruisers from the double stripes of light cruisers would be formalized on 1 July 1938.) Cruiser Division Nine received its twin Willow Green markings on 24 July, shortly after activation.
Initially, both divisions painted the twin stripes on all three forward turrets, but aircraft had difficulty distinguishing black stripes from Willow Green stripes. For improved identification, on 18 July 1940 CruDiv Eight removed the stripes from all but Turret 1, while CruDiv Nine removed them from all but Turret 2.
The aft-most turret top was initially painted a solid color for each ship. Individual ship colors were prescribed for the after turret, which meant Turret 5 for the Brooklyn class. To improve identification, this was changed to the “after high turret” (Turret 4) on 7 May 1941, though several ships had already moved the marking there in 1940.
The order applying heavy cruisers’ ship colors as a 12-foot-diameter disc came on 29 August 1938. I haven’t yet found an order for the rectangular markings on light cruisers, but the earliest evidence I’ve seen for such a marking comes from a 1940 photo.
There was some early confusion over CruDiv Nine’s flagship, which was originally Phoenix. (Note the rising phoenix squadron insignia for VCS-9 - Honolulu tried to change the squadron insignia after taking command in February 1939.) Honolulu originally carried True Blue as its ship color.