USS Thomaston (LSD-28)
Thomaston, the lead ship of her class of dock landing ship, was commissioned in September 1954 at Pascagoula, Mississippi, and ordered to the Arctic and Aleutian Islands. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, she assisted ships in the region. Due to U.S. involvement in Vietnam, she relocated to the South China Sea and was present for the initial U.S. Marine landings in March 1965 at Danang and Chu Lai. In 1966, Thomaston participated in Operations Deckhouse III and IV carrying Marines and supplies upriver, which was further supported the next year with Operations Deckhouse V and VI, challenging the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese. In early 1968, following running coastal logistics between Danang, Camranh Bay, and Thon My Thuy, known as "murder beach," she serviced ships as a repair dock at the latter location. For the rest of the war, Thomaston conducted troop and cargo lifts along with amphibious operations. Called to participate in Operation Eagle Pull in March 1975, she assisted the evacuation of Americans and designated Cambodians from Cambodia. In Operation Frequent Wind on April 29, Thomaston's crew helped to evacuate 811 Vietnamese, Americans, and other refugees from Vietnam, where her flight deck had makeshift tents to house the numerous personnel. Following her war service, she operated with the Pacific Fleet until overhauled in 1978. Decommissioned on September 28, 1984, Thomaston was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on February 24, 1992.
Image: K-110059. USS Thomaston (LSD-28) in San Diego Bay, California, August 20, 1975. U.S. National Archives Photograph.
A model of Thomaston was on display in the America's Wars in Vietnam section of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy (Cold War Gallery), Bldg. 70, until 2022.