LST-1148 was laid down on 15 February 1945 by the Chicago Bridge
and Iron Co., Seneca, Ill.; launched on 22 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. H. M. Fay; and
commissioned on 9 June 1945, Lt. Richard Goodhart, USCGR, in command.
LST-1148 moved down the Mississippi River to New Orleans and held her shakedown in
Galveston Bay from 19 June to 1 July. Following a short yard availability period, she
loaded cargo and stood out of New Orleans on 13 July en route to the Pacific. After
transiting the Panama Canal, she called at San Diego and Seattle before arriving at Pearl
Harbor on 27 August. She sailed from there for Okinawa on 7 October and arrived at Buckner
Bay on the 25th. Three days later, she got underway for Japan and arrived at Sasebo on 30
LST-1148 remained at Sasebo for 18 days during which time most of the cargo was unloaded.
She departed Sasebo on 18 November for Okinawa. The remainder of the cargo was offloaded
there between 23 and 28 November. The LST stood out of Buckner Bay on 8 December en route
to Saipan and arrived there on the 21st. On 27 December 1945, she was routed onward to the
United States, via Pearl Harbor, and arrived at San Pedro on 30 January 1946. She moved up
the coast to San Francisco; unloaded her cargo; and proceeded to Astoria, Oregon, for
inactivation without an overhaul. She was placed in reserve, out of commission, on 11 May
1946 and berthed in the Columbia River.
LST-1148 was placed in commission again on 3 October 1950 at the Naval Base, Astoria,
Oregon. After a yard period and refresher training, she steamed to San Diego for further
training from 14 December 1950 to 1 March 1951. She then moved to Port Hueneme; loaded
cargo; and departed for the Far East on 3 March. The LST arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 7
April, and based her operations there. The ship mostly operated in Japanese waters but
made two voyages to Inchon, Korea, in October 1951. She returned to San Diego on 19
December 1951. Following a three-month overhaul at San Francisco and
refresher training, LST-1148 sailed on 25 August 1952 to begin her second tour in the Far
East. She operated between Japanese ports and Inchon, Koje Do, Sokcho-Ri, and Pusan,
Korea. She returned to San Diego on 16 May 1953 and commenced local operations, including
amphibious landings, along the California cost.
LST-1148 was in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard from 23 November 1953 to 2 February 1954.
She returned to her home port for a month of refresher training and, on 27 March got
underway for her third tour in WestPac. She arrived in Yokosuka on 25 April and engaged in
training operations which took her to Korea and Okinawa. On 17 August, she departed
Yokosuka for French Indochina. Between 29 August and 24 September, the ship evacuated over
3,000 refugees from the Haiphong area to Tourane. She returned to Japan on 5 October and
to San Diego on 7 November 1954. Her stateside tour was short as she headed westward again
on 16 March 1955 to operate in Japanese waters until 19 October before returning home. On
1 July 1955 the LST was formally named USS Sumner County
(LST-1148) to honor counties in Kansas and
Sumner County deployed to the Far East again from 28 August 1956 to early May 1957. After
a two-month leave and upkeep period at San Diego, she departed on 17 July for Hawaii and
Operation "Tradewinds," returning on 31 August. She left San Diego on 1 October
1957 with two other LST's on a five-week voyage to Kodiak, Alaska.
Sumner County had her
annual overhaul at San Diego during January and February 1958 which was followed by
refresher and amphibious training exercises prior to her forthcoming deployment. She
deployed to the Far East from 6 June to 11 December 1958.
In early 1959, Sumner County was nominated to support the HIRAN project in the Marshall
Islands. She spent three months transporting men and equipment of Air Survey Team 9 and
the Army Mapping Service between the islands of the Marshall group. The project was
completed in May, and the ship returned to San Diego. On 3 November 1959, she sailed to
Alaska to participate in Operation "Totem Pole" in the Kodiak area. She then
returned to San Diego where she participated in local exercises and fleet amphibious
exercises for the next two and one-half years.
Sumner County sailed to Hawaii on 27 August 1962 and participated in amphibious exercises
there until 7 November. On 26 December 1962, she again departed for Hawaii to support
operations for Commander, Service Forces, Pacific. She supported the Service Forces in
Hawaii again from 26 December 1962 to 1 April 1963. In June, she sailed to Alaska to
participate in a Bureau of Ships project which lasted until 19 July. The remainder of the
year and all of 1964 were spent in exercises off the lower California coast.
Sumner County sailed to Hawaii from 20 January to 17 February and participated in Exercise
"Silver Lance." She was at San Diego for one day and ordered to sail for Hawaii
on 18 February. The LST arrived at Pearl Harbor on 1 March. On 20 March, she was routed
westward to Okinawa and attached to the 7th Fleet. After steaming to Sasebo for an upkeep
period from 4 to 9 April, she then got underway for the United States. The ship was at San
Diego from 6 May to 7 July when she again headed west. Sumner County arrived at Pearl
Harbor on the 17th and departed for Subic Bay, P.I., two days later. She remained there
from 9 to 14 August preparing for a prolonged tour in Vietnam.
Sumner County arrived at Danang on 16 August and began supporting the Coast Guard patrol
boats participating in Operation "Market Time", This duty continued until 27
December 1965 when she began transporting cargo up and down the coast to such ports as Cam
Ranh Bay, Phan Rang, Nha Trang, Saigon, and Tuy Hoa. On 20 January 1966 the LST broached
in heavy weather at Tuy Hoa, causing hull and shaft damage. She was towed to Sasebo for
repairs and dry docked there from 8 to 24 February. Three days later, she was underway for
the United States via Pearl Harbor.
Sumner County arrived at San Diego on 30 March. Four months later she was again en route
to Vietnam, via Iwakuni, Japan, with elements of Marine Air Group (MAG) 15 embarked. The
marines were disembarked at Iwakuni on 19 August, and the ship sailed to Yokosuka for an
upkeep period. On 20 September, she sailed for Danang with elements of MAG-17. They were
off-loaded at Danang on the 29th; and the Sumner County then began shuttling troops,
cargo, and equipment from Danang to Chu Lai in support of the marines there. She sailed
for Sasebo on 24 October and thence to the United States, via Pearl Harbor, arriving at
San Diego on 13 December 1966.
Sumner County was only away from her home port from 17 May to 11 June 1967 when she
transported 100 marines and cargo to Hawaii. She was deployed to WestPac from 7 May to 24
December 1968. During this period she shuttled cargo and supplies from Danang to Tan My
and Cua Viet from 25 June to 1 August; 6 August to 3 September; and from 28 September to 3
November. This was the ship's last period of deployment as it was decided that she would
Sumner County departed San Diego on 29 August 1969 for the east coast and arrived at
Orange, Tex., on 19 September, to begin preparations for decommissioning. She was placed
out of commission, in reserve, there on 9 October and attached to the Atlantic Reserve
Fleet. She was still attached to that fleet as of March 1975.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat
Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit
Commendation, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm,
RVN Civil Action Medal, First Class, with Palm,
RVN Campaign Medal with 60's device and the Vietnam
Service Medal with (9)