History of The USS Pitkin County (LST-1082)

March 21, 2001



LST 1082 was laid down 18 November 1944 by the American Bridge Co., Ambridge, Pa.; launched 26 January 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Stephen Anzio, departed Ambridge 26 January 1945 under a ferry crew which piloted her down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the U.S. Naval Repair Base, Algiers, La., and commissioned at New Orleans 7 February 1945, Lt. John B. Cameron, USNR, in command.

After shakedown to St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and alterations at Mobile, the new tank landing ship loaded pontoon barges at Gulfport, Miss., and departed 24 March 1945 with 90 Navy passengers who were disembarked in the Panama Canal Zone. From there she proceeded to Pearl Harbor where she embarked Marines bound for Guam, and sailed 27 April entering Apra Harbor 17 May. LST-1082 departed Guam two days later and proceeded via Saipan for Okinawa. After weathering a typhoon 5 June, she arrived Buckner Bay, Okinawa on the 8th and lay hidden under a smoke screen with her crew at general quarters during the many air alerts.

LST-1082 departed Naha, Okinawa, 4 July, to return marines and their combat gear to Guam. She then returned via Saipan to Pearl Harbor 5 August. She was in floating dry dock number 2, when news came of the end of hostilities with Japan, 15 August. Fourteen days later she stood out of Pearl Harbor with 210 Marines and their equipment bound for occupation duty in Japan, and reached Sasebo 23 September.

LST-1082 departed Sasebo two days later for Subic Bay Luzon, Philippine Islands, where she embarked elements of the 5th Army Air Force. Following a brief stay in Lingayen Gulf, she departed San Fabian 12 October to land the Army troops and their equipment at Wakayama, Japan, arriving 22 October. She sailed the following day for Manila, thence proceeded to the San Fabian Beach in Lingayen Gulf. There she embarked 185 officers and men of an Army aviation battalion and debarked these occupation troops in Sasebo, Japan, 15 November.

LST-1082 departed Sasebo 23 November and steamed home via Saipan, and Pearl Harbor arriving San Francisco 16 January 1946. LST-1082 decommissioned at Astoria, 5 August 1946, and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

The LST remained in reserve until recommissioned at Astoria, 6 September 1950, LCDR John E. Chadwick USNR, in command. She fitted out in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, trained out of San Diego, and sailed 19 December for Japan via Pearl Harbor and Midway.

LST-1082 arrived in Yokosuka, 23 January 1951 to begin support of United Nations Forces in Korea. She departed 8 February with units of LST Division 13 bound to Urusan Wan, Korea. Here, she received vehicles and men of a United States Engineering Special Brigade for transport to Pusan arriving 13 February 1951. That afternoon she was outbound with American and Korean Army troops, and 387 South Korean laborers. These passengers and their equipment were debarked at Inchon 15 February. The following weeks, she transported thousands of Communist prisoners-of-war from Inchon to Koje Do Island for internment.

LST-1082 left Koje Do Island 20 March for Kobe, Japan. Following repairs, she touched Sasebo enroute to Okinawa thence steamed to Kunsan, Korea to transfer combat cargo to shore from the attack cargo ship Andromeda (AKA-15). She returned to Okinawa 4 May and sailed two days later with passengers and freight for Inchon. She put into Sasebo Harbor 13 May 1951, for tactical exercises off the coast of Japan before departing Yokosuka for home 7 June.

LST-1082 arrived San Diego from the Far East 28 June for amphibious assault tactics and exercises before she returned to the Far East reaching Yokosuka 7 April. She sailed for shuttle duty at Pusan, Korea, transferring Communist Chinese prisoners-of-war to Koje Do Island.

Returning to Yokosuka 6 July, LST-1082 carried out amphibious assault training with Army field artillery troops along the coast of Japan before transporting them to Pusan. She entered Pusan Harbor 10 August to land vehicles and Army troops. She again called at Pusan, 20 to 23 September, transporting 105 Communist prisoners-of-war in a shuttle trip to Koje Do Island. She spent the following weeks among ports of Japan and in Fleet exercises stretching along the coast of Korea to P’ohang Do. She departed Yokosuka 22 November and returned to San Diego 20 December.

She trained along the Southern California coast and was overhauled in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard until sailing 19 October 1953 for the Far East. She touched Pearl Harbor, then stopped briefly 10 November to launch and recover a landing force at Taka Atoll in the Marshall Islands and arrived Yokosuka 23 November 1953. She spent much of the next eight months in Marine amphibious assault landing exercises that took her from the shores of Japan to the beaches of Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and Inchon. She departed Yokosuka 17 June 1954 and returned to San Diego 19 July. Named USS Pitkin County, she operated on the West Coast until she decommissioned at San Diego 1 September 1955 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Pitkin County recommissioned at Long Beach Naval Shipyard 9 July 1966, Lt. C. E. Quarles in command. The same day she became flagship for Landing Ship Squadron 3. After training through the summer, she sailed for Viet Nam and arrived Da Nang 29 November. After debarking Marines, she began shuttle operations between Da Nang and Chu Lai until sailing for Guam 21 December, arriving Apra Harbor 2 January 1967. On the 26th she got underway for a survey cruise taking her to the Marianas, Volcanos Bonins, and Ryukyus. Arriving Okinawa 7 February, she loaded supplies and vehicles and sailed on the 10th for Chu Lai arriving on the 14th. After unloading, she sailed via Da Nang for Hong Kong. For the next three years, operating out of Guam, she alternated service in Viet Nam, largely “Market Time” operations with visits to other Far Eastern ports. On Christmas Eve she sped to assist merchant tug Makah ablaze in Vung Tau Harbor, and extinguished the fires saving the stricken and abandoned ship. Into 1970, she continues to operate in the western Pacific.

LST-1082 earned one battle star during World War II and four during the Korean War.

History and photo courtesy of William Posson. Contact Bill bposs@phillipsburg.net with additions to the history.

Awards earned during the Vietnam War: (3) Navy Unit Commendations, 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 (10) Battle Stars.