A parish in far southern Louisiana bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and a county in eastern Illinois bordering on Indiana.
(AKA-107: dp. 13,910 (tl.); 1. 4B9'2"; b. 63'0"; dr. 26'4" dim.); s. 16.5 k. (tl.); cpl. 425; a. 1 5", 8 40mm., 16 20mm.; cl. Tolland; T. C2-S-AJ3)
Vermilion (AKA-107) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1700) on 17 October 1944 at Wilmington, N.C., by the North Carolina Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; launched on 12 December 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Rex Freeman; delivered to the Navy incomplete on 23 December 1944; moved to the Todd Shipyard at Brooklyn, New York; completed as a Navy attack cargo ship and placed in commission at Brooklyn on 23 June 1945, Capt. F. B. Eggers in command.
Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet and based at Norfolk, Va., Vermilion spent more than a year after commissioning engaged in shakedown and refresher training. That routine occupied her time until late in 1946. In November of that year, she made a cruise to South American waters and resumed duty out of Norfolk upon her return. Normal Atlantic Fleet operations— including midshipman summer training cruises, amphibious exercises, type training and reserve training cruises-—took up Vermilion's time for almost three years. On 26 August 1949, she was decommissioned and berthed with the Reserve Fleet Group located at Orange, Tex. The outbreak of the Korean War in the summer of 1950 interrupted her inactivity. She was recommissioned at Orange on 16 October 1950, Capt. A. Jackson in command.
Though the Korean War occasioned Vermilion's return to active duty, she never saw service in that conflict. Instead, she replaced more combat-ready ships in the Atlantic Fleet and released them for duty in the Far East. After shakedown training, the attack cargo ship began normal operations with the Atlantic Fleet. That employment continued until the summer of 1951 when she participated in Operation "Bluejay," the first large scale seaborne lift of supplies to the new air base under construction at Thule, Greenland. She returned from that mission to Norfolk on 29 August 1951 and resumed operations with the Atlantic Fleet. During the summer of 1952, the ship returned to Thule on another supply mission. She completed that operation on 25 August when she returned to Norfolk and to duty with the Atlantic Fleet. The end of the year and the beginning of 1953 saw her operating in the West Indies out of the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She returned to Norfolk on 2 February and once again started normal duty out of that port.
For the next five years, Vermilion participated in Atlantic Fleet amphibious exercises at Onslow Beach, N.C., and in the Caribbean. She also conducted independent ship's exercises and made cruises the length of the Atlantic seaboard. In June of 1958, the attack cargo ship left the east coast of the United States for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. She returned home in December and resumed her normal schedule of operations.
Her routine of amphibious exercises, independent ship's exercises, and the like continued until the fall of 1962 when she was deployed to the West Indies to support the American quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. Following that mission, the ship returned once again to her familiar routine of operations out of Norfolk. In May 1963, she once more departed the east coast for a deployment with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.
Vermilion returned to Norfolk on 17 October and began another four-year stint of operations along the Atlantic seaboard and in the Caribbean. In January 1968, she departed Morehead City, N.C., with Marine Air Control Squadron 6, bound—via the Panama Canal and Pearl Harbor—for the Ryukyus. She arrived in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 22 February and departed those islands on the 25th with Marine Air Control Squadron 8 embarked. She disembarked the air squadron at Morehead City on 30 March and returned to Norfolk on the 31st. Following a six-month overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, during which she was redesignated LKA-107 on 14 August, Vermilion resumed Atlantic Fleet operations in November. She continued to operate out of Norfolk for over two years. On 13 April 1971, the ship was decommissioned at Norfolk. She was transferred to the Maritime Administration on 27 July 1971 for layup in the National Defense Reserve Fleet at James River, Va. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 January 1977.