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Marion County

(LST‑975: dp. 1,625; l. 328'0"; b. 50'0"; dr. 14'1"; a. 11.6 k.; cpl. 119; a. 8 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. LST‑511)

Counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

Marion County (LST‑975) was laid down as LST‑975 by Bethlehem‑Hingham Shipyards, Inc., Hingham, Mass., 1 December 1944; launched 6 January 1945; sponsored by Miss Alice J. Varian; and commissioned 3 February 1945; Lt. David S. Stanley in command.

After shakedown in Chesapeake Bay, LST‑975 departed New York 27 March 1945 for the Pacific, via the Panama Canal, arriving Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 1 May for amphibions warfare exercises in the Maui area. She steamed to Seattle, Wash., arriving 13 June to embark 119 Army troops and equipment. Sailing on 28 June via Hawaii, Eniwetok, and Saipan, she arrived Okinawa, 17 August, 2 days after the Japanese capitulation.

On the 23d she got underway for Saipan to embark men and equipment of the 2d Marine Division for the occupation of Japan. LST‑975 reached Nagasaki 24 September and began unloading. Two days later she continued on to the Philippines, entering San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, 7 October.

LST‑975 again got underway for Japan 6 days later, embarked men and equipment of the Army-s 52d Field Artillery Battalion at Mindanao en route, and arrived at Maysuyama 25 October to disembark passengers and cargo. She returned to the Philippines from Honshu the 29th, mooring at Manila 6 November. The ship spent the next 5 months conveying troops and equipment between the various ports of the war‑torn Philippines until she decommissioned in Subic Bay, Luzon, 16 April 1946 and was turned over to the Army for operations in the Far East.

She was still in service there when at 0400 on 25 June 1950 the North Korean People-s Republic Army struck south across the 38th Parallel. On 27 June President Harry S. Truman ordered American naval and air support of the Republic of Korea. That afternoon the Security Council called upon all members of the United Nations to assist in repelling the North Korean attack.

With the need for shipping for an immediate large-scale lift of troops and supplies, LST‑975 was assigned to MSTS 1 July to be manned by a Japanese civilian crew. On 28 August she recommissioned at Yokosuka, Japan, Lt. Arnold W. Rarer in command.

After training out of Kobe, Japan, LST‑975 joined the Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, and arrived off Inchon, Korea, 15 September for supply duty through the landings 15 to 17 September, and into the middle of October.

That first day she was repeatedly harassed by sniper fire as she beached on Red Beach; a mortal shell wounded one man. While she unloaded during the next few days, Marine casualties were brought on board for care by Surgical Team 3. Completing unloading by the 17th, she spent the next month on ship‑to‑shore supply operations.

On 15 October the tank landing ship departed Inchon for Wonsan, arriving the 25th, 5 days after the original landings. The difficulties of land transportation on the peninsula repeatedly emphasized the key importance of seaborne supply. LST‑975's supply runs lasted Into the middle of 1951.

She departed Yokosuka, Japan, 1 May for the west coast, arriving San Diego, Calif., the 26th, and operated along the California coast for the next 8 months before returning to the Far East.

LST‑975 arrived off Yokosuka 11 March 1952. She again supported the deterrent efforts of the U.N. Forces in Korea from 4 April during protracted armistice negotiations until departing 20 October for the west coast.

LST‑975 operated on the west coast for the next year. On 19 June 1953, she sailed via Seattle, and Point Barrow, to resupply DEW radar stations along the Artic Circle. On 25 August she departed Seward, Alaska, to resume operations out of San Diego until 19 October when she got underway for another cruise to the Far East.

Following arrival at Yokosuka 13 November, the tank landing ship spent nearly 5 months in amphibious warfare training. From 23 to 26 March 1954, she participated in a simulated assault landing on Iwo Jima-nearly a decade after the World War II operation 19 February 1945, arduously fought but gloriously finished by the American Navy and Marines.

Returning to the west coast, the LST arrived San Diego 20 May for 2 years of coastal duty. Renamed Marion County 1July 1955, she departed San Diego 9 January 1956 for training exercises off Hawaii and the Philippines.

After a stay in the Long Beach, Calif., area from 14 April to 5 May, Marion County sailed for Portland, Oreg., arriving 9 May. The next day she decommissioned and was turned over to MSTS. The ship operated in the Pacific until 26 September 1957 when she entered the MSTS -ready reserve- fleet at Suisun Bay, Calif. Marion County remained there until 21 October 1960 when she was returned to the Navy account to be placed in temporary custody of the Maritime Commission. On 12 April 1962 Marion County was transferred under the Military Assistance Program to the Republic of Vietnam. Struck from the Navy list 1 June 1963, she continues to serve South Vietnam as Cam Ranh (HQ‑500) into 1969.

Marion County received six battle stars for Korean service.

Published: Thu Aug 06 07:35:40 EDT 2015