LST-836 was laid down on 11 September 1944 at Ambridge, Pa., by the American Bridge Co.; launched on 29 October 1944; sponsored by Mrs. H. E. Hetu; and commissioned on 25 November 1944, Lt. Elmo J. Sullivan, USNR, in command.
During World War II, LST-836 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto in April 1945. Following the war, the ship performed occupation duty in the Far East until mid-December 1945. She was decommissioned on 25 July 1946 and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Re-commissioned on 3 November 1950, LST-836 saw extensive service during the Korean War.
On 1 July 1955, LST-836 was re-designated USS Holmes County (LST-836) after counties in Florida, Mississippi, and Ohio. USS Holmes County (LST-836) was overhauled in the late 1950’s. From 1959 through 1964, Holmes County participated in amphibious training in the Pacific as a member of the Pacific Amphibious Force. She primarily operated along the West Coast of the United States and the Hawaiian Island chain.
The Holmes County was back in action starting in 1965, performing combat service during the Vietnam War. She departed her base of operations in San Diego on 11 October 1965 and steamed for Southeast Asia. She arrived in Danang in the Republic of South Vietnam on 22 November 1965. She operated there until 1966 when on 29 March, after 89 days in the combat zone, she steamed for Yokosuka, Japan. The ship stayed in Japan undergoing upkeep, preparing for the 5,500 mile journey home to San Diego. As she departed, Holmes County received the following message from the Commander of the Seventh Fleet “As you depart 7th Fleet Intra-Coastal Task Unit, be assured you leave behind an admiration for the extraordinary work you have done this cruise.”
USS Holmes County (LST-836) arrived in San Diego on 26 May 1966. She operated in the San Diego area for approximately four months, participating in one of the largest peacetime operations ever conducted by the Pacific Fleet. Operation “Base Line”, however, would not be her last hurrah.
The Holmes County came out of the yards following an overhaul in the spring of 1968. She operated off the U.S. coast during refresher training and worked with the Marines evaluating a new amphibious vehicle. The ship then departed San Diego in late summer of 1968 bound for Vietnam. After arriving in-country in October the Holmes County carrier cargo in I Corps with a few side trips to the Philippines for refitting. Most of her work was accomplished between Danang and Cua Viet on the DMZ.
In early 1969 she sailed once again for Vietnam where, on March 15, she traded crews with the USS Blanco County (LST-344). The crew in Vietnam was pleased to have a ‘new’ ship on which to carry on operations in the delta.
USS Holmes County (LST 836) served with pride in Vietnamese waters until May 10, 1971. Decommissioned again, Holmes County left the United States Navy to serve in the Singaporean Navy on 1 July 1971. She was renamed RS Endurance (LS201) by Singapore. The Singapore Navy acquired four other former USN “County” class LST ships after the Holmes County was transferred. The Singapore Navy has since decommissioned her. After more than three decades of service, LST-836 has finally earned the rest.
LST-836 earned one star for World War II service and three stars for the Korean War.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat Action Ribbon, (3) Navy Unit Commendations, 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 (12) Battle Stars.