next sailed for Pearl Harbor
, where she joined Richmond
and headed for Shanghai
, China. Upon arrival there she contributed to the show of force aimed at the protection of American and other foreign nationals of Shanghai's international settlement during operations against that city through the summer of 1927 in China's civil war.
In addition to her stay at Shanghai, Marblehead
spent two months up the Yangtze River
, and visited several Japanese ports before leaving the Far East in March 1928. En route home the cruiser stopped at Corinto, Nicaragua, to assist in the preparations for elections under the Peace of Tipitapa, delaying her return to Boston until August.
During the next decade Marblehead
operated with both the Atlantic (August 1928 to January 1933) and Pacific (February 1933 to January 1938) Fleets. In January 1938 she was temporarily assigned to the Asiatic Fleet, receiving permanent assignment there seven months later. Home ported at Cavite
, Philippine Islands
, she cruised the Sea of Japan
and the South and East China seas as tension, political and military, rapidly increased in the Far East.
 World War II
"About on 24 November 1941," her war diary reported, "the Commander–in–Chief, U.S. Asiatic Fleet sensed that the relations between the United States and Japan
had reached such a critical state that movement of men–of–war...was indicated." The next day, Marblehead
, with TF 5, departed Manila Bay
for seemingly "routine weekly operations." She anchored at Tarakan
, 29 November and waited for further instructions. On 8 December (7 December in the United States) she received the message "Japan started hostilities; govern yourselves accordingly."
Battle of Makassar Strait, 1942
in February 1942 showing bomb damage received in the Battle of Makassar Strait
and other American warships then joined with those of the Royal Netherlands Navy
and the Royal Australian Navy
to patrol the waters surrounding the Netherlands East Indies
and to screen Allied shipping moving south from the Philippines. On the night of on 24 January 1942, Marblehead
covered the withdrawal of a force of Dutch and American warships after they had attacked, with devastating effect, an enemy convoy off Balikpapan
. Six days later, in an attempt to repeat this success, the force departed Surabaja
, to intercept an enemy convoy concentration at Kendari
. The Japanese convoy, however, sailed soon after, and the Allied force changed course, anchoring in Bunda Roads 2 February. On the 4th, the ships steamed out of Bunda Roads
and headed for another Japanese convoy sighted at the southern entrance to the Makassar Straits
. At 09:49, 36 enemy bombers were sighted closing in on the formation from the east.
In the ensuing Battle of Makassar Strait
successfully maneuvered through three attacks. After the third an enemy plane spiraled toward the cruiser, but her gunners splashed it. The next minute a fourth wave of seven bombers released bombs at Marblehead
. Two were direct hits and a third a near miss close aboard the port bow causing severe underwater damage. Fires swept the ship as she listed to starboard and began to settle by the bow. Her rudder jammed, Marblehead
, continuing to steam at full speed, circled to port her gunners kept firing, while damage control crews fought the fires and helped the wounded. By 11:00 the fires were under control. Before noon the enemy planes departed, leaving the damaged cruiser with 15 dead or mortally wounded and 84 seriously injured.
Marblehead's engineers soon released the rudder angle to 9° left, and at 12:55 she retired to Tjilatjap, steering by working the engines at varying speeds. She made Tjilatjap with a forward draft of 30 feet, aft 22 feet. Unable to be docked there, her worst leaks were repaired and she put to sea again on the 13th, beginning a voyage of more than 9,000 miles in search of complete repairs.
Still steering with her engines, she made Trincomalee
on the 21st. Repairs could not be made there or anywhere in India
for several weeks. So Marblehead
departed for South Africa
2 March. After touching at Durban
and Port Elizabeth
arrived at Simonstown
24 March. There she underwent extensive repairs and on 15 April sailed for New York
. Steaming via Recife
, she arrived New York 4 May and immediately entered drydock at the navy yard.