Sumter (LST-1181) (q.v.) was named after a city and county in South Carolina. She was laid down on 14 November 1967 at Philadelphia, Pa., by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard; launched on 13 December 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Strom Thurmond; and commissioned on 20 June 1970, Comdr. James C. Hayes in command.
Following sea trials, Sumter was assigned to the Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet, and homeported at Long Beach, Calif. The tank landing ship completed two deployments to the western Pacific in support of the United States effort in Vietnam and was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in early 1973. Into 1978, Sumter was alternating operations along the east coast of the United States with deployments to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
Sumter earned two engagement stars for Vietnam service.