LST-1157 was laid down on 3 March 1952 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath
Iron Works, launched on 6 December 1952, sponsored by Mrs. John H Spiller, and
commissioned on 14 March 1953, Lt. Comdr. L. I. Reynolds in command.
Following shakedown training and operations out of Little Creek, Va.,
departed Morehead City, N.C., on 25 September 1953 with a full load of troops and
amphibious vehicles for transfer to the Pacific Fleet and arrived in San Diego on 25
October. Assigned to Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet,
LST-1157 operated out of San
Diego into February 1954 before getting underway for the Central Pacific. She soon took
part in moving natives from northern islands in the Marshalls to new homes in southern
islands in May and June 1954. This lift involved the shipment of lumber for new homes,
schools, and churches, as well as of the personal belongings and livestock of the natives.
Returning to a routine of local operations upon arrival at Port Chicago on 2 July,
was named USS Terrell County
(LST-1151) on 1 July 1955. She departed the west coast on 9 September
1955 for her first Western Pacific (WestPac) deployment, and she operated out of ports in
Okinawa and Japan before returning to the west coast and resuming local operations.
Her second WestPac deployment commenced on 13 August 1957 In the succeeding months,
steamed a total of 25,600 miles, conducted three landing exercises and four
troop lifts; and transported 500 vehicles and 1,500 men in five beachings and nine
"marriages" to landing causeway sections. During this period, she also served as
flagship for Landing Ship Squadron ONE. The sudden flare-up of tension halfway around the
world in Lebanon temporarily interrupted the LST's routine. The ship sailed for Pearl
Harbor and conducted emergency exercises in the Hawaiian area before the Middle Eastern
Departing the west coast on 15 April 1959, the ship headed across the Pacific for her
third WestPac deployment. She subsequently returned to San Diego in November and began an
extensive overhaul. On 16 June 1960, the ship set sail for her fourth WestPac cruise.
In July 1960, her permanent home port was changed from San Diego to Yokosuka, Japan. In
the Far East,
participated in a wide variety of operations with beachings
and landings of embarked marines and their equipment. Occasionally, maneuvers with
warships of other SEATO powers took place in locales ranging from Thailand to Korea and
from Borneo to the Philippine Islands. Liberties at Hong Kong and Tokyo brightened a
sometimes uneventful deployment while typhoon evasions, too, were common occurrences.
On 4 August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats reportedly attacked destroyers Maddox
(DD-641) and Turner Joy (DD-951) in the Gulf of Tonkin, off Vietnam. Terrell
County proceeded to Iwakuni, Japan, where she remained on alert until 20 August, when
she headed for Yokosuka and extended upkeep.
Next, local operations in Japanese and Korean waters occupied the ship through the end of
1964. Underway training began the ship's new year and lasted through February and into
March 1965. On 12 March, the ship departed the Ryukyus, bound for South Vietnam. She
arrived at Danang four days later, unloaded embarked men and cargo, and then returned to
Yokosuka for major overhaul.
The ship returned to Vietnamese waters following the refit and transported Marine Air
Control Squadron 9 to Chu Lai before returning to Japanese waters. Operational commitments
subsequently overrode refresher training out of Yokosuka in July, forcing the ship to
embark Naval Beach Group 1. Dispatched to Okinawa on 1 August,
evaded a typhoon en route and made port to load Regimental Landing Team 7 before sailing
on the 9th for Chu Lai. Remaining at that American base from 15 to 17 August, the ship
evaded two typhoons en route back to Japanese waters before she reached Yokosuka on 25
Following further refresher training and an upkeep period, the LST got underway for South
Korea on 21 October and arrived at Pusan two days later. She embarked elements of the
Republic of Korea's "Tiger" Division -- marking the first time that a Korean
expeditionary force had been sent abroad in nearly 1,000 years. Sailing on 25 October,
arrived at Qi Nhon, South Vietnam, on 2 November and debarked her troops.
The ship operated in support of Operation "Blue Marlin" from 4 to 17 November --
included in this deployment was a landing near Chu Lai and a trip to Danang with support
equipment on board. Once she completed this assignment, the LST received orders to proceed
to Nha Trang and thence to Cam Ranh Bay for further operations. On 21 November, the ship
embarked ROK marines and U.S. Army support units for transport to Tuy Hoa.
Soon after reaching Tuy Hoa, the ship, with her troops still embarked broached in the
heavy surf and went aground. On 24 November, Molala (ATF-106) and Mahopac
(ATA-196) succeeded in pulling
"off the beach."
Subsequently patched and pumped dry, the LST got underway on 2 December, under tow for
Yokosuka, where permanent repairs could be made to her damaged hull.
The restoration work was complete on 22 February 1966, and the ship got underway for Naha,
Okinawa. She embarked men and equipment of the Army's 1st Engineering Battalion and
transported them to Vietnam. She completed the task on 7 March and then made another
transport run from 14 to 26 March, carrying American cavalrymen from Naha to Saigon.
After coastal operations off Vietnam from 27 March to 5 May,
to Japan on one shaft, since her starboard shaft had ceased functioning. On 13 May, as the
landing ship crept along toward Yokosuka, lookouts sighted the Soviet merchantman Makhachala
two points abaft the starboard beam and closing. Both ships continued steady on their
assumed that the heavily-laden Russian would stay clear.
Finally, both ships were forced to maneuver radically to avert a collision.
Shaft troubles continued to plague the landing ship but did not interfere with the
completion of her transport and cargo missions. She continued these duties into the fall
of 1966. In October,
sailed to Subic Bay to serve as the United
States' representative at the 22d annual Leyte Gulf celebration which commemorated the
American landings of 1944 supported by an earlier breed of LST's.
Subsequently completing a Nuclear Weapons Acceptance Inspection -- the first ship in her
squadron to do so,
conducted two more transport lifts -- both to Chu
Lai, Vietnam before rounding out the year 1966 by joining Task Unit (TU) 76.0.7 as part of
the Danang-Chu Lai shuttle. The ship remained with TU 76.0.7 until 18 January 1977, when
she sailed for Okinawa. She proceeded thence to her permanent WestPac home port, Yokosuka.
Transport operations to Okinawa, intermingled with type and refresher training exercises,
continued through the spring. On 9 July,
relieved Tom Green
County (LST-1159) as part of Amphibious Ready Group Bravo, TG 76.6, then engaged in
the midst of operations "Beaver Track" and "Buffalo", Given the
mission of "sea-trailer" or contingency logistics, she carried ammunition,
medical supplies and vehicles assigned to the 2d Battalion, 3d Marine Division, the Marine
units bearing the brunt of the fighting ashore. For two months,
supported operations in Quang Tri province, just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ),
and conducted a series of landings in rapid succession: Operations "Bear
"Kangaroo Kick" and "Belt Drive" before heading for Hong Kong on 19
Following visits to Okinawa and Subic Bay,
loaded ammunition and
causeway sections and departed Yokosuka on 1 March 1968, bound for Vietnam. However, while
steaming in company with Washoe County (LST-1165) and Westchester County
lost two causeways which were torn loose by heavy seas.
Returning to Yokosuka, the LST obtained replacement sections and embarked Amphibious
Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 before getting underway again and rejoining her two sister
ships en route to Vietnam. Arriving at Danang on 13 March, the ship delivered her
causeways and proceeded to Tien Sha to unload her ammunition and to take on the gear
necessary for the ship's forthcoming operations.
Joining the Amphibious Ready Group once again
operated off My Thuy,
Vietnam, from 15 March to 12 April before retiring to Subic Bay. She rendezvoused with Valley
Forge (LPH-8) off Vietnam on 29 April for operations on station in area
"Alice." Subsequently sailing for Hong Kong on 12 May for a five-day visit,
headed for Buckner Bay, Okinawa, to deliver cargo from Danang before moving to
Yokosuka for an overhaul which lasted through the summer of 1968. Training and drills
occupied the ship well into the fall of that year, before she proceeded back to Vietnam.
From 1 to 7 December,
conducted general drills and gunnery exercises
before beaching at Vung Tau to load ammunition. On 10 December the LST relieved Washoe
County as support LST for Task Force 115 on Operation "Market
interdiction operation attempting to interrupt North Vietnamese logistics operations in
South Vietnamese coastal waters.
On 1 January 1969,
was assigned additional duty as support ship for
the fast PCF boats which were aptly nicknamed Swift Boats engaged in riverine
operations off the lower Ca Mau peninsula.
Three days after undertaking this duty, the LST launched her LCVP's to participate in an
assault north of Song Ong Doc, in conjunction with PCF's and Song Ong Duc regional forces.
When Viet Cong gunners opened up on the Allied force,
fire, killing five Viet Cong soldiers and assisting in the successful withdrawal of the
then participated in other operations against the Viet Cong, firing
on positions along the banks of the Song Bo De and Duong Keo rivers, coordinating PCF's,
aircraft, and ships' batteries in firing on Viet Cong concentrations and staging areas. As
a result of these operations, Viet Cong extortion from local Vietnamese foresters and
fishermen in the lower Ca Mau peninsula was substantially, albeit temporarily, curtailed.
Relieved as "Market Time" support LST,
got underway on 5
February 1969 for the Philippines and arrived at Subic Bay six days later.
Training and local operations in Japanese, Okinawan and Philippine waters preceded yet
another Vietnam deployment which commenced upon arrival at Vung Tau on 8 May. The next
day, the ship relieved Westchester County and found that the tempo of operations in
the lower Ca Mau peninsula had increased. With 50 men of the Mobile Strike Force embarked,
as well as an Army scout helicopter and an Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) detachment,
provided support for multifaceted operations designed to destroy Viet Cong
factories, training and supply camps, and extortion stations. She remained on station in
the Ca Mau region until 25 June. A visit to Hong Kong from 8 to 24 July preceded the
ship's sailing for Yokosuka and upkeep.
The ship subsequently carried causeways to Danang, Vietnam, before resuming duties as
support LST for continued interdiction and Pacification operations at her old haunt, Ca
Mau. From 10 October to 25 November,
"SEAFLOAT " With an embarked helicopter detachment, the ship undertook refueling
and rearming of helicopters, and provided ammunition and services for PCF's, SEAL teams,
The ship also undertook small boat and PCF maintenance, as well as providing numerous
personal services -- laundry and small stores, to name but two. During this period,
established regular mail deliveries to off-shore units by helicopter -- the
first such services provided in the Ca Mau vicinity. On 15 October, the LST fired a
gunfire-support mission against Viet Cong vessels.
On 25 November, Vernon County (LST-1161) came alongside; and
entrusted her "SEAFLOAT" support duties to the newcomer before sailing for
Danang. Loading troops and equipment on 30 November, she got underway on 1 December to
neutralize a threatened mortar attack before returning and refueling from SS Hampton
then returned again to Vung Tau, relieving Washoe County as
"Seafloat" support vessel, providing fuel, ammunition, and communications
support for a brood of smaller craft. She also assisted Krishna (APL-38) by
receiving that ship's stores from provision ships and delivering them, and by also serving
as a platform upon which Krishna's mail and spare parts could be helicoptered in.
also provided repair and maintenance services for PCF's and smaller craft, such
as PCR's. She remained at this duty through the spring of 1970.
When American forces invaded Cambodia in the spring of 1970, to deal with troublesome
communist "sanctuaries" in the "parrot's beak" area,
operated as "contingency LST" from 17 to 19 May 1970. She then proceeded to
Danang to pick up equipment and a "Seabee" causeway section for transport to
Yokosuka. Soon after reaching her home port, she commenced an upkeep period which lasted
until 1 August.
A trip to Hong Kong and a final deployment to Vietnam rounded out the ship's stay in the
Far East On 1 October, the Panama-registered freighter SS Tung Yang lost all power
and wallowed in heavy seas.
and Washoe County went to the
ship's assistance, and
passed a towline to the vessel. By
mid-afternoon on 2 October, Tung Yang rode at the end of the towline but, late the
next day, the tow parted, and the freighter was once again adrift. Deliver
(ARS-23), also in the area, soon retrieved the tow, and thus allowed
to proceed for Chu Lai.
After loading retrograde Marine and Navy vehicles, the ship sailed on 6 October for Subic
Bay. Arriving on 8 October, the LST took on supplies and got underway on the 9th in
company with sister ship Washoe County and three MSC's. The two LST's provided
support services for these craft during the long voyage to the west coast.
The little convoy arrived at San Diego on Armistice Day, 11 November 1970. After
offloading her cargo on the 13th,
proceeded to San Francisco for
four days liberty before continuing northward. She reached Bremerton, Wash., on 24
November and was placed in "In Commission in Reserve" status. Her inactivation
work lasted into the new year. On 25 March 1971,
at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, and placed in the Reserve Fleet there. She
was berthed at Pier "D" -- Inactive Ship Facility, Bremerton. The LST was sold
to Greece in March 1977.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Presidential
Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation,
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 (10)
Photos below courtesy of Member Ray
Harvey when the USS Clarion River (LSMR-409) came alongside the
Here is a photo of the former
USS Terrell County (LST-1157)
serving in the Greek Navy as "Kos L114":
Photo Courtesy of George O'Connell