History of The USS Snohomish County (LST-1126)

May 22, 2000


LST-1126 was laid down on 16 November 1944 by Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. of Seneca, Illinois as LST-1126. She was launched on 9 February 1945 and departed Seneca on 23 February to sail down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. LST-1126 was commissioned on 28 February 1945; Lt. F. C. Helm, USNR, in command.

Between 1945 and 1960, LST-1126 deployed to the western Pacific eight times. Her first tour of duty there came in April 1945, when she departed New Orleans, transited the Panama Canal, stopped at San Diego, Seattle, and Pearl Harbor, before continuing westward. As she continued her voyage, she visited Eniwetok Atoll; Apra Harbor, Guam; Saipan; and Okinawa.

In late September LST-1126 joined the post-World War II occupation forces in China. Operating off the west coast of the United States out of San Diego when not in the western Pacific. LST-1126 returned to the Far East in 1948, 1953, during the winters of 1954-55, 1957, 1958 and 1959-60. The LST also made three DEW Line re-supply runs to Alaska in 1949, 1950, and 1953.

It was on 1 July 1955, just after her return from her fourth deployment to the western Pacific, that the LST was named Snohomish County (LST-1126). The permanent assignment of an LST squadron to Yokosuka, Japan made the 1959-60 deployment Snohomish County’s last until the escalation of the Vietnam War.

Until 1964 she operated out of San Diego and made two MidPac cruises in 1961 and 1962. The second cruise was in support of Operation “Dominic”, a series of nuclear tests. Upon completion of this assignment she returned to normal operations along the Pacific coast.

In 1965, the American buildup in Vietnam began in earnest. Accordingly the need for support ships grew and Snohomish County returned to the Far East once more. She drew normal tours of duty (five to seven months at a time) in 1965, 1966 and 1967.

In 1968 Snohomish County was sent on an extended deployment which did not end until the spring of 1970 just before her decommissioning. On each of these last deployments the LST made the circuit from Japan, Vietnam and Subic Bay in the Philippines.

For the most part she hauled men and supplies from American bases in Japan and the Philippines to Vietnam. On occasion she received other assignments. Most notable is the one with riverine operations in 1968. There were also ports-of-call such as Hong Kong as well as Keelung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan where the war could be forgotten for awhile.

As in the past, Snohomish County resumed normal operations, exercises, drills and upkeep in and around San Diego when not deployed to the Far East.

On 22 April 1970 Snohomish County returned to her WestPac home port of Apra Harbor, Guam and went through an Inspection and Survey. She was declared unfit for further naval service.

On 1 July 1970 she was decommissioned at the Naval Station, Guam and her name was struck from the Navy list.

In January 1971, her hulk was sold to Chin Ho Fa Steel and Iron Co., Ltd., of Taiwan for scrapping.

Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Combat Action Ribbon, 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 (8) Battle Stars.

Transcribed by Michael Hansen