LST-601 was laid down on 21 October 1943 at Seneca, III., by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co.; launched on 4 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Celia Counter Finch; and commissioned on 25 March 1944, Lt. Ledbetter in command.
During World War II, LST-601 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the invasion of southern France in August and September 1944. At the close of World War II, LST-601 remained in active service under Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. LST-601 was redesignated Clarke County (LST-601) on 1 July 1955 after counties
in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, and Virginia. She was decommissioned on 23 November 1955. The in ship was recommissioned on 28 July 1966. Clarke County performed service in the Vietnam theater during the period 1967 to 1970.
LST-601 received one battle star for World War II service, and six battle stars plus two awards of the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam service.
LST-983, with LST-601 in the background, launches a Marine LVTP-5 for a waterborne landing. When carrying amphibious tractors, an LST could land her payload from offshore without beaching. Today's Newport (LST-1179)-class ships can debark amphibious vehicles from their stern gates.