LST-1150 was laid down on 1 March 1945 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Co., Seneca, Ill.; launched on 30 May 1945; sponsored by Mrs. Marie S. Budd; and commissioned on 20 June 1945, Lt. J. F. Carpenter, USCGR, in command.
LST-1150 moved down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, La., where she outfitted for seven days and then held her shakedown off Galveston, Tex. She moved to Gulfport, Miss., and loaded 385 tons of pontoons. She loaded 718 tons of smokepots at Mobile, Ala., and sailed for Hawaii. The Panama Canal was transited on 6 August, and the ship headed west. When midway to her destination, the LST was ordered to return to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco on 27 August and unloaded her cargo at Mare Island two days later.
LST-1150 loaded provisions for the American occupation forces in Japan and sailed. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 9 October; departed there eight days later for Okinawa; and arrived at Wakayama, Honshu, on 7 November. The LST stood out of Osaka on 3 December 1945, en route to the United States. After port calls at Saipan, M.I., Pearl Harbor, and San Francisco, she arrived at San Diego on 5 January 1946. The Coast Guard crew was replaced by a Navy crew on 8 February, and they operated the ship in the San Diego area until March when orders were received to place her out of commission. On 13 September 1946, LST-1150 was placed out of commission, in reserve, with the Columbia River Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. LST-1150 was named Sutter County (LST-1150) on 1 July 1955 to honor a county in California.
Sutter County was ordered activated on 4 January 1966 and was recommissioned on 16 April. She departed Portland on the 29th for San Diego to hold refresher training. On 15 July, she moved to Del Mar Boat Basin, Camp Pendleton, and loaded a detachment of Marine Air Group (MAG) 15 for transportation to Japan. The ship sailed the next day and, after port calls at Pearl Harbor and Guam, arrived at Iwakuni on 24 August. The home port of Sutter County was designated as Guam for the next three years, but the ship actually spent little time there.
During 1966, the LST made runs to Sasebo, Inchon, Naka, and Kaohsiung, Formosa. From 2 to 13 December, she operated in South Vietnam, making support runs from Danang to Chu Lai. Sutter County was at Guam from 23 December 1966 to mid-January 1967 when she returned to Vietnam. She was away from her home port for 284 days which covered four deployments to Vietnam. Her first deployment ended on 28 February when she sailed to Hong Kong for rest and recreation after participating in Operation “Market Time,” with Task Force (TF) 115, off the Mekong Delta area of South Vietnam.
Sutter County’s second tour in Vietnam during the year was from 16 April to 15 July. She operated under Naval Support Activity, Danang, and made 13 shuttle runs to Cua Viet carrying over 15 million pounds of cargo, mostly ammunition. After upkeep at Guam, the ship sailed to Manila, P.I., to participate in lifts for Operation “Schoolhouse.” This was transporting prefabricated schoolhouses from Manila to Bohol and Negros islands. She returned to Danang on 1 September, and was ordered to Chu Lai. The ship loaded South Korean Marines of the Tiger Division for an amphibious assault on the village of Anky, fifty miles south. Sutter County was off the beach on 7 September and, after the air strikes and shore bombardment lifted, landed the Koreans. She withdrew from the operating area and after five days (20 to 25 September) at Taiwan, returned to Guam. Her last deployment of the year was from 20 October to 4 December when she rejoined TF 115 on Operation “Market Time.” She was back at Guam for a much needed overhaul from 19 December 1967 to 26 February 1968.
Sutter County sailed on 4 March to Yokosuka and held refresher training which lasted until 26 March. Back in Vietnam from 5 April to 7 June, the ship again made shuttle runs for the Naval Support Activity at Danang. This was shuttling supplies from Danang to Cua Viet, five miles south of the demilitarized zone for further transportation inland. After a rest and recreation period in Hong Kong from 10 to 15 June, she sailed to Subic Bay for an upkeep and training period. After a port call at Bangkok, Thailand, the LST returned to Danang. On 29 July, she loaded ammunition for delivery to Can Tho, 40 miles up the Bassac River in the heart of the Mekong Delta. This was followed by two more lifts from Vung Tau to Can Tau, including a hazardous transit of the river at night while carrying men of the 565th Army Transportation Company. She departed for Guam on 19 August and arrived at Apra Harbor on the 30th for a short upkeep period.
On 3 October, Sutter County stood out of port en route to Danang for a short tour on the Cua Viet shuttle which ended on 26 October when she departed for Subic Bay for an upkeep period. The LST returned to Vietnam on 16 November and relieved Pitkin County (LST-1082) as the resupply ship for Mobile Riverine Base “A” of TF-117. This required further operations in the Mekong Delta area, in the Tien Giang and Ham Luong rivers where the joint Army-Navy force operated. She made four trips up these rivers before being relieved by Tom Green County (LST-1159) on 18 December. Sutter County steamed to Hong Kong for a brief period, 24 to 30 December 1968, and then departed for Guam. Sutter County was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for her service in Vietnam as part of Landing Ship Squadron 3 from July 1966 through March 1968.
Sutter County was at Guam for upkeep from 8 January to 7 March 1969 and then sailed to the Philippines awaiting further orders until 15 April. The LST served NAVSUPPACT at Danang from 25 April to 28 May and again from 1 to 13 December. She was at Tan My on 5 November and departed two days later with 70 marines embarked for a return to Okinawa. The ship was back at Danang on 30 December 1969 to make another return voyage to Okinawa but was forced to remain there for engine repairs. She sailed for Japan on 12 January 1970 and arrived at Yokosuka five days later.
Sutter County departed Yokosuka on 13 February for Danang. She arrived there on the 25th and sailed for Okinawa the same day. Departing Naha on 8 March, the LST arrived at her home port the following week and remained there until 28 April when she did a turn-around voyage to the Palau Islands. On 20 May, the ship sailed for Yokosuka and arrived eight days later. She remained there until 5 July when she moved to Iwakuni for a week before departing for Vung Tau, Vietnam. Sutter County arrived there on 23 July and was assigned special operations until 14 August when she returned to Danang. Two days later she sailed for Guam. She remained at her home port until 15 September when she was ordered to proceed to the United States, via Pearl Harbor.
Sutter County arrived at San Diego on 10 October and was routed onward to the east coast, via Acapulco, Mexico, and the Panama Canal. She arrived at Orange, Tex., on 25 November and reported to the Inactive Ship Facility there on 1 December. On that date, the LST was placed in reserve, in commission, and remained in that status until March 1971. On 12 March, Sutter County was placed out of commission, in reserve. Sutter County remained with the Reserve Fleet at Orange, Tex., until 15 September 1974 when she was struck from the Navy list.
Awards earned during the Vietnam War: Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, RVN Civil Action Medal, First Class, with Palm, RVN Campaign Medal with 60’s device and (7) Battle Stars for her Vietnam Service Medal.
Del Bodingers recollections
“USS Sutter County (LST -1150) got stuck in the mud after a water hose fouled the screws. A nearby patrol gun boat was blown out of the water by sappers that were anxious to get vto the sitting duck LST stuck in the mud. The LST had to stay up the river part of the night. The base commander insisted that we leave (at night). We did with the assistance of a 3 helo gunship escort. The Patrol Gunboat sunk may have been the LSSL 225 since this event was in August of 1970. Is this the only LST to have ever successfully negotiated the hazardous Cua Long and Bo De river by night?”