History of The USS Madera County (LST-905)



LST-905 was laid down by the Dravo Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., 19 November 1944; launched 30 November 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Paul Gulling; and commissioned 20 January 1945.

After commissioning, the ship was fitted out at New Orleans and then underwent brief training exercises along the gulf coast. In February 1945, she departed for the Pacific, arriving the next month at Pearl Harbor. Following further training, she departed Hawaii 16 April for the Marianas. By mid-May she was at Guam where she joined a convoy then gathering to get underway for Okinawa. She arrived at Okinawa Gunto 8 June, remaining until the 28th. She continued to operate in the western Pacific, shuttling cargo and passengers among the island groups until returning to the United States in 1946. On 11 September 1946, she was deactivated and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. While still inactive, the LST was given the name Madera County 1 July 1955.

On 30 March 1963, Madera County recommissioned, retaining her reserve status. With a crew of volunteers from the Pacific Fleet’s Amphibious Force, she underwent shakedown training at San Diego and then began preparations for a voyage to a new home port at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va. Arriving there 19 June, she came under the control of the Commander, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Her mission as part of this Fleet was to be able to support, on short notice, any military operation in the Atlantic-Caribbean area. The next year and a half was spent on extensive amphibious training exercises and shipyard periods to insure this ability.

On 22 March 1965, Madera County proceeded to Cape Kennedy, Fla., to standby during the recovery phase of the first manned Gemini shot. On 27 April, the ship again departed Little Creek for southern waters, this time transporting equipment to Puerto Rico. The next day the Dominican Republic crisis arose, and upon delivery of her cargo at Roosevelt Roads, P.R., she headed for San Juan where she went on 4-hour standby duty. In May, she made one trip to Little Creek, returning to the Caribbean within 2 weeks with Army units aboard. On 8 June, she debarked these units at Puerta de Andres, Dominican Republic, and loaded other Army units for a voyage back to the east coast. She returned to Little Creek 15 June, but before the end of the year completed three more Caribbean deployments, 13 August to 15 September, 25 October to 10 November, 18 November to 8 December. On 11 December, Madera County was assigned active status and then underwent overhaul in preparation for extended sea duty.

Photo Courtesy of RM3 Tom O'Donnell (Mekong River - Circa 1967-68)

Photo Courtesy of RM3 Tom O’Donnell (Mekong River – Circa 1967-68)

Madera County was attached to Commander Landing Ship Squadron TWO (COMLANSHIPRON TWO) along with 10 other LSTs.

Ordered to the western Pacific, Madera County steamed out of Hampton Roads 11 February 1966 en route to the Philippines. She entered Subic Bay 1 May and the next week commenced logistic support of Vietnamese operations. During the ensuing months, she transported ammunition and construction materials to the Republic of Vietnam, off-loading at ports such as Qui Nhon, Da Nang, Chu Lai, and Nha Trang. She also called at ports in the Philippines, on Taiwan and in Japan. Upkeep and maintenance periods were held at Sasebo during July and December 1966.

Following her December overhaul, Madera County returned to Subic Bay and support of combat operations in South Vietnam, continuing this role through 1969.

Madera County was awarded one battle star for World War II service.

Transferred to the Philippines on 29 November 1969, Madera County became ILCOS NORTE (LT-87). Subsequently renumbered to LT-98 and sometimes referred to as ILOCOS NORTE, the ship was stricken from the US Naval Vessel Register on 15 September 1979 and sold to the Philippines on 1 March 1980. ILOCOS NORTE was stricken from the Philippine Navy in 1992.

Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat Action Ribbon, (2) Meritorious 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 (10) Battle Stars.