(LST-1181: dp. 4,750; l. 523'; b. 70'; dr. 20'; s. 20 k.; cpl. 617; a. 2 3"; cl. Newport)
Thomas Sumter, born in 1734 near Charlottesville, Va., moved to South Carolina in 1764 and lived there until his death in 1832.
An American Revolutionary officer, he was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel of the 6th Continental Regiment in 1776. He was appointed Brigadier General of the South Carolina Militia on 6 October 1780. Sumter distinguished himself in operations against the British in the Carolinas. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1789 to 1793 and from 1797 to 1801 when he became Senator. Sumter served in the Senate until 1810. He died on his plantation, "South Mount," near Stateburg, S.C., on 1 June 1832.
His name is commemorated by a city and a county of South Carolina, as well as by the historic fort in Charleston Harbor which Confederate forces bombarded, opening the Civil War.
The third Sumter (LST-1181) was laid down on 14 November 1967 by the Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, Pa.; launched on 13 December 1969; sponsored by Mrs. Strom Thurmond; and commissioned on 20 June 1970, Comdr. James C. Hayes in command.
Sumter fitted out at Philadelphia and then held sea trials in the Virginia Capes area. On 21 August, she got underway for the Panama Canal, via Norfolk, Va., Charleston, S.C., and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The canal was transited on 7 September 1970; and the LST continued to Long Beach, her homeport, after a port call at Acapulco, Mexico. She operated along the California coast until 30 April 1971 when she deployed to the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific.
Sumter returned to Long Beach on 18 June. In July and August she made a cruise to British Columbia and then resumed local operations from her home port. She had a restricted availability period at the Todd Shipyard, San Pedro, from 21 November 1971 until 7 January 1972 when she returned to sea for refresher training. The ship continued local operations until she again deployed to the western Pacific, on 31 March, for a tour that did not end until 6 December 1972 when she returned to Long Beach for an upkeep period.
Sumter sailed from Long Beach, on 6 January 1973, for the east coast of the United States. The canal was transited on 19 January; and she arrived at Little Creek, Va., her new home port, on the 29th.
The following six months were spent in periods of upkeep and independent steaming cruises. On 29 August, Sumter sailed to Morehead City, N.C., where she embarked Marines, and then steamed east to join the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She called at ports in Spain, Turkey, Sardinia, Italy, Crete, and Greece before returning to Little Creek on 10 December 1973.
On 12 February 1974, Sumter sailed to Morehead City to onload Marines for exercises in the Caribbean and returned to Little Creek on 8 March. In April she made a voyage to Boston and, the following month, held additional exercises in the Caribbean before returning to her homeport on 3 July.
Sumter stood out of Little Creek, on 16 August 1974, en route to the Mediterranean and her second tour with the 6th Fleet. In January 1975, the LST was still serving with that fleet.