Built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation of Quincy, Massachusetts, the USS Detroit (CL-8) was the fifth of ten Omaha-class cruisers. Launched on 29 June 1922, she was commissioned on 31 July 1923.
The Detroit joined the Scouting Fleet and operated along the East Coast and in the Mediterranean. She also served on a lifeguard station for the Army around-the-world flight in 1924 and as the flagship for Commander, Light Cruiser Divisions, until 23 November 1924.
In March 1927, the Detroit was dispatched to patrol the Nicaraguan coast. Several months later, she transported U.S. Secretary of State F. B. Kellogg between Ireland and France for talks that led to the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. In the 1930s, the Detroit operated with the Pacific Fleet Battle Force out of San Diego, and in 1941, she was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.