During the Vietnam War, over 50 LST’s served in Vietnam, with a good percentage of these serving in direct support of the Mobile Riverine Force TF-117, some earning as many as 15 Battle Stars. The T’s of Vietnam were awarded 395 Battle Stars, 19 Presidential Unit Citations, 48 Navy Unit Citations, and 44 Meritorious Unit Citations.
The T’s of Vietnam went into action on many different occasions and in many different areas of Vietnam from the DMZ to the Delta, some resulting in the loss of life. The USS Westchester County, LST-1167 was mined in November of 1968 with the loss of 18 Navy men, 5 Army men from the 9th Infantry Division, and 27 men wounded. The USS Coconino County, LST-603 was mined in 1967. The USS Hunterdon County, LST-838 was hit by recoilless rifle fire, leaving 2 men dead and 25 wounded. Tom Green County, LST-1159 was hit by recoilless rifle fire in January of 69 with the loss of 2 KIA and many wounded.
All of us who served on the rivers of Vietnam can remember these ships moving slowly up and down the rivers keeping us supplied with food, ammo, parts, fuel, medical support, and fuel. The LST’s of Vietnam were one of many components that served in-country under 1167.jpg (2032 bytes)very harsh, and often boring conditions; though like most in-country Navy units, they received very little recognition for a job well done. Most people back home at that time didn’t even know the Navy served in-country Vietnam, much less on the rivers. Even today when talking with people, if you mention that you served in the Navy in Vietnam, they ask what Carrier, or Cruiser. When you reply, “I served on the brown waters (on the rivers) in-country Vietnam or attached to one of the Naval Task Forces, or in direct support of the Army or Marine Corps, ” they look at you and more then likely say, “I was unaware the Navy served in-country during the War.”
The ships we have listed are not all the T’s that were hit or suffered loss of life while serving in Vietnam. So to all you T” Sailors who read this, don’t feel left out if your T was not mentioned. We can only furnish the information we have on hand. We who served on the rivers, and the bases, know very well the part the LST’s played during the Vietnam War. LST’s were always known as the work horses of the fleet and they kept this proud tradition up during the Vietnam War and served with distinction.
We, the Army and Navy members of the Mobile Riverine Force Association, would like to send a belated thank you to all the men who served on the LST’s of Vietnam. Thanks Gators…You did good…!!!!!