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Mineral County

(LST‑988: dp. 1,625; l. 328'; b. 50'; dr. 11'; s. 12 k.; cpl. 119; a. 8 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. LST‑511)

LST‑988 was laid down at the Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Mass., 10 February 1944; launched 12 March 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Winfred K. Buchmaster; and commissioned 25 April 1944, Lt. (jg.) Charles E. Craig in command.

Following shakedown out of Little Creek, Va., LST‑988 departed the Norfolk area, 2 June 1944, in a convoy bound for Bizerte, Tunisia. Arriving on the 22d, she discharged her Seabee passengers and equipment and took on troops and rolling stock to be transported to Italy. She anchored at Naples 2 July and for the next month shuttled troops and equipment along the Italian coast, to Sicily and to Corsica. On 12 August, with Army personnel as passengers and their tanks and other vehicles as her cargo, she departed Naples for the invasion of southern France. By 0600, 15 August, she stood off St. Raphael awaiting her first beaching on enemy held shores under fire. Moving in at 1745, she had completed unloading by 1945. The following day she headed for Corsica and until 6 October shuttled troops, American and French, from Ajaccio, Corslea, and Oran, Algiers, to St. Raphael and Marseilles. During October she completed runs to Italy and Tunisia, returning in November to the Corsica‑Marseilles route. She completed her final Mediterranean assignment, Marseilles-Bizerte‑Oran, in mid‑December and on the 28th got underway for Norfolk. Arriving 14 January 1945, she steamed to New York for overhaul, returning to Virginia in March to take on vehicles for Pearl Harbor.

Underway on 1 April, she joined a convoy for the Canal Zone, thence, on 15 May, steamed north to San Francisco where she loaded explosives and ammunition for use in the western Pacific. By the end of June she had discharged her Hawaiian cargo and by 6 July was en route to Eniwetok and Guam. After off‑loading her dangerous cargo at the latter island, she received word of the Japanese surrender and orders to continue transportation services in the Marshalls and Marianas. On 14 September she departed Saipan for the Philippines to begin duty with the 3d Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet. From the 26th until 19 November she operated between Subic Bay and Yokohama, carrying Army occupation personnel and their equipment on the first leg of their journey to their as stations in the former enemy's home islands. LST‑988 then commenced occupation service of her own, the transportation of cargo and passengers amongst various Japanese ports from Honshu to Kyushu.

Detached 11 April 1946, she began to make her way back to the United States. She arrived at San Francisco 27 May, thence steamed through the Panama Canal and arrived at New York City 13 July. Under orders from the commandant, 3d Naval District, she decommissioned and was placed in reserve 25 July and, after overhaul, was placed in service, 13 January 1947, for employment as a Naval Reserve training vessel for the New York area. On 6 April 1950 she reported for inactivation at Philadelphia and on 13 June was officially designated out of commission, in reserve. Towed to Florida the following week, she was berthed at Green Cove Springs as a unit of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.

Shortly after her berthing at Green Cove Springs, the reopening of hostilities in Asia and high tension in Europe and the Middle East resulted in an increased demand for ships of her type. LST‑988 was ordered reactivated. On 7 June 1951 she recommissioned and 13 days later reported to ServLant for duty is a troop and cargo carrier. Her assignments during the next year took her as far east as the Mediterranean and as far north as Newfoundland. In May 1952, she was fitted out with a helicopter and then ordered to Iceland for special projects with the Air Force. Returning to Norfolk in September, she prepared for her first extended oversea deployment since World War II, 6 months with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, after which she resumed operations for the 2d Fleet. In November 1953, she commenced work as cargo and personnel carrier, helicopter supply ship, and LORAC team unit for the Navy's Hydrographic Office, then engaged in scientific research in and resurvey of the Atlantic. Renamed Mineral County (LST‑988), 1 July 1955, she continued to serve the Hydrographic Office until the spring of 1957 when she was ordered to prepare for inactivation. On 8 July, at Norfolk, she was placed in reserve. On 11 October she decommissioned and was ordered to be stripped preparatory to use to destruction as a target vessel for the Atlantic Fleet.

LST‑988 received one battle star for World War II service.

Published: Mon Aug 10 12:42:39 EDT 2015