AB AC AD AE AG AK AM AO AS AT AW AZ BM BT BU
CE CM CS CT DC DK DM DP DS DT EA EM EN EO ET
FC FT GM GS (53-61) GS (78-Now) HM HT IC IM IT JO LI
MA (48-67) MA (72-Now) ME ML MM MN MR MS MT MU NAVY NC ND OM OS
PC PH PM PN PR QM RD (WW2) RD (48-72) RM SD SF SH SK SM
SO ST SV SW TM UT WT YN NAVY DIVER
Click on your Rating abbreviation above:


U.S.S. TOM GREEN COUNTY

(LST-1159)

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
THE TOUGH TOM GETS GOING

Click to view crew list
 

USS TOM GREEN COUNTY (LST-1159 ) - a Terrebonne Parish-class tank landing ship

In Commission 1953 to 1972

LST-1159 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LST-1159 Shellback Initiation Add a LST-1159 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
SEP 1952 Keel Date: 2 SEP 1952
at Bath Iron Works Bath ME
JUL 1953 Launch Date: 2 JUL 1953
SEP 1953 Commissioned: 12 SEP 1953
MAR 1954 - MAR 1954 Panama Canal
JUL 1960 - JUL 1960 Homeported in Yokosuka
JAN 1962 - JUN 1964 Cuban Missle Blockade
AUG 1968 - Shellback Initiation - 24 AUG 1968 - Pacific Ocean
JUN 1969 - NOV 1969 West Pac-Viet Nam
NOV 1969 - OCT 1971 West Pac
APR 1971 - MAY 1971 West Pac
JAN 1972 Decommissioned: 5 JAN 1972

LST-1159 General Specifications

Class: Terrebonne Parish-class tank landing ship

Named for: Tom Green County

Complement: 16 Officers and 189 Enlisted

Displacement: 2590 tons

Length: 384 feet 0 inches

Beam: 55 feet 0 inches

Flank Speed: 14 knots

Final Disposition: Transferred to Spain 5 January 1972



USS TOM GREEN COUNTY (LST-1159)



Tom Green County (LST-1159) was laid down as LST-1159 on 2 September 1952 at Bath Maine by the Bath Iron Works; launched on 2 July 1953; sponsored by Mrs. R. T. Cowdrey; and commissioned on 12 September 1953 Lt. Comdr. Stephen J. Nemeth in command.


Initially attached to Amphibious Forces Atlantic Fleet LST-1159 conducted shakedown in Guantanamo Bay and the Caribbean before commencing local operations out of Norfolk and Little Creek Va. She departed Norfolk on 24 February 1954 for duty with Amphibious Forees Pacific Fleet and after a transit of the Panama Canal reached the west coast on 20 Mareh. The tank landing ship operated out of her new home port San Diego until 20 September including calls at San Fran cisco and San Pedro Calif. and Esquimalt British Columbia in her itinerary.


En route to the Far East LST-1159 stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor before proceeding on toward Japan. While on the voyage across the Pacific the ship was diverted to join Task Foree (TF) 98 in Southeast Asian waters and arrived at Henriette Pass near the port of Haiphong Freneh Indochina on 29 October. Taking part in Operation "Passage to Freedom " LST- 1159 transported refugees from the northern part of what became a divided Vietnam to the southern ports of Tourane (Danang) and Saigon. On 29 November 1954 her job in the massive humanitarian effort com pleted the tank landing ship proceeded toward her original destination.


LST-1159 proceeded via Subic Bay Philippine Is lands and Hong Kong British Crown Colony and ar rived at Yokosuka Japan on 22 December. The tank landing ship paid calls on the Japanese ports of Moji Sasebo and Kobe before a deteriorating international situation resulted in the ship's call to duty with TF 76 at Buckner Bay Okinawa on 3 February 1955. She sortied from Okinawa soon thereafter and took part in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands from 8 to 13 February moving 2 144 civilians 1 100 troops 600 tons of ammunition and 37 vehicles to Formosa in two round trips. Soon after completing these operations LST-1159 was named Tom Green County.


Returning via Sasebo Japan and Inchon Korea to the United States Tom Green County made port at San Diego on 2 April to begin a period of local opera tions out of that port. On 14 Oetober the tank landing ship entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Val lejo Calif. for a four-month yard period which lasted until February of 1956.


Moving back to San Diego following the overhaul Tom Green County departed the west coast for her second Far East deployment on 24 April and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 May. Underway on 7 May the ship made port at Yokosuka on the 24th and operated in the Far East for the remainder of 1956 touching at her normal ports of eall such as Sasebo Iwakuni Nag asaki and Yokosuka Japan Buckner Bay and Naha Okinawa; as well as Hong Kong and Iwo Jima before returning to Yokosuka on 22 November.


On 23 January 1957 the tank landing ship departed Japanese waters for Hawaii and reached Pearl Harbor on 9 February. Tom Green County conducted local oper ations between the Hawaiian Islands and the west eoast for the remainder of the year with calls at San Diego Monterey Oakland San Franeisco and Camp Pendle ton before she headed for Pearl Harbor.


Deployed again to the Far East Tom Green County made port at Yokosuka on 4 July 1958 to commenee amphibious support exercises and training cruises to familiar places: Buckner Bay Naha Subic Bay and a new port on the itinerary the Nationalist Chinese base at Kaohsiung Taiwan. She remained engaged in these activities through the fall of 1958 before returning via Pearl Harbor to San Diego to round out the year. Local operations between the west eoast and Pearl Harbor occupied the ship through 1959.


In July 1960 new orders dictated the tank landing ship's change of home port from San Diego to Yoko suka and assigned Tom Green County as flagship of Landing Ship Division 92. She continued her opera tions much as before but maintenance work was now conducted in Japanese yards obviating returns to United States for overhauls. Local operations inter spersed yard periods and training exercises kept the tank landing ship engaged through 1962.


Following the ship's partieipation in Operations "Tulungan" (9 Mareh to 9 April 1962) and "Lone Eagle" (14 to 23 Oetober) at Subie Bay and Okinawa respectively Tom Green County went on alert as events half-way around the world threatened peace. The pres ence of Russian IRBM's in Cuba brought on a head-to- head confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. Ready for any eventuality the Navy pre pared itself world-wide. Tom Green County sailed for Naha on the 24th of Oetober moored at the LST ramp and took on board marines and their equipment. After the crisis passed the ship returned to her normal oper ating schedule making for Iwakuni on the 27th to off load before proceeding to Yokosuka.


Upkeep from 2 to 25 November at Yokosuka preceded the ship's type-training exercises through 29 November. Tom Green County paid a port visit at Beppu Japan from 1 to 3 Deeember before returning to her home port on the 7th. Underway three days later the ship made for Numazu Japan to load marines and materiel for transport to Okinawa and arrived on the 15th. The tank landing ship off-loaded headed for Japanese waters and arrived at Yokosuka on 19 Deeember before getting underway again on Christmas Eve for Tokyo. Tom Green County departed the Japanese capital city on the 28th and returned to Yokosuka where she spent the remainder of the year in upkeep status.


The following year saw more of the same activities in store for the tank landing ship. Port visits to Tsoying Taiwan (12 to 14 Mareh 1963) Hong Kong (16 to 22 March); Osaka Japan (8 to i5 April); and Taipei were interspersed with local operations out of Yoko suka. Tom Green County participated in Operations "Flagpole" (16 to 28 June) and "Bayonet Beach" (31 August to 9 September) along the eastern coast of South Korea transporting embarked marines and vehi eles to landing beaches and putting them ashore. Fol lowing her return to Japanese home waters with a visit to Kagoshima from 9 to 15 November the ship pro eeeded to Sasebo for three weeks of upkeep. Conduct ing type training in Buckner Bay she on-loaded ma rines for transport to Numazu and subsequently arrived home at Yokosuka on 20 December.


As the situation in Southeast Asia worsened the United States began to take a more active part in the Vietnam confliet. Operation "Jungle Drum " towards the end of 1965 landed marines in southern Thailand. With increasing American commitments in Vietnam Tom Green County participated in Operations "Piranha" and "Double Eagle" in January and February of 1966. The latter was the first large-scale amphibious landing under combat conditions since Inehon. In June 1966 the tank landing ship came under the operational and administrative command of Landing Ship Squadron 9; and in November the ship commenced support commit ments for the Vietnam Coastal Surveillanee Force engaged in monitoring and interdicting offshore small craft traffic TF 115.


The year 1967 found the ship participating in further combat operations: "Beacon Torch " "Beaver Track " "Bear Chain " and "Kangaroo Kick." As an element of Amphibious Ready Group Bravo (TG 76.5) Tom Green County received the Meritorious Unit Com- mendation for these operations eondueted between 18 June and 4 August 1967. During this deployment in Southeast Asia the ship also underwent a yard over haul at Yokosuka from 16 August to 17 November be fore she returned to Vietnamese waters.


On 22 March 1968 Tom Green County arrived in the Mekong Delta region to commence a deployment as sup port LST for the Riverine Assault Force. On 15 April Viet Cong insurgents attacked the ship with recoilless- rifle and automatic-weapons fire. Tom Green County shuddered under the impact of nine hits taken in quick succession. Following repairs of her battle damage the tank landing ship resumed operations with Amphibious Ready Group Alpha (TG 76.4) and participated in Op eration "Swift Pursuit " before returning to the Mekong in December to commence resupply duties for


TG 117.2-Mobile Riverine Group Bravo. While en route on 28 Deeember Tom Green County came under rocket fire from Viet Cong gunners and took seven hits on her port side.


Repairing the damage and continuing her assigned missions she conducted her operations in the Bassac River near Can Tho. On 21 January 1969 while beached at Vung Tau and loading supplies for a routine con voy run the ship again came under fire as Viet Cong launched a rocket barrage directed at the loading ramp and the adjacent airstrip. One rocket (122 millimeter) impacted on the fantail and exploded in the mess decks of Tom Green County inflicting heavy materiel damage and wounding several men in the after part of the ship.


Retracting and anchoring at Vung Tau Bay Tom Green County effected temporary repairs before being relieved by Whitfield County (LST-1169) to sail for Yokosuka and permanent repairs. En route to Japanese waters the ship's company arrived at a novel method of preparing and consuming their meals as the regular galley and messing facilities had been rendered useless by the battle damage. Besides subsisting on makeshift rations the crew "char-broiled" steaks on jury-rigged "grills" fashioned from empty 55-gallon oil drums. Steak-grilling continued unabated through even inclem ent weather-in which case the whole "steak-grilling" operation was moved to the tank deck.


On 2 February the ship made port at Yokosuka to commence a long repair period after which she con ducted support operations for an assault boat school at Numazu while undertaking independent steaming exer cises. Sudden troop deployments in Vietnam resulted in a recall to Southeast Asian waters and Tom Green County accordingly sailed for Vung Tau on 23 June. En route the ship trained in riverine warfare tactics.


Tom Green County relieved Whitfield County on 4 July 1969 at My Tho near Dong Tam and spent the next six weeks supporting the operations of TF 117 as it prepared to "wrap up" its operations in the Mekong Delta region. While at My Tho and in the "Delta " the tank landing ship served as a floating sup ply base and a transient barracks ship for members of the Army 9th Division who were being processed for stateside duty. Tom Green County also gave the Viet Cong a dose of their own medicine-firing over 3 000 rounds of 3-inch/50-caliber counter-battery ha rassment and interdiction fire while maintaining a vigilant watch for swimmer-sappers who might at tempt to mine the ship while she lay at anchor.


On 18 August the day before the disestablishment of the Mobile Riverine Force Tom Green County de parted Vietnamese waters and steamed for Subic Bay arriving in the Philippines on the 23rd of the month. Taking on provisions after arriving the tank landing ship proceeded for Keelung Taiwan on the 23rd making port four days later. Underway for the Marianas on 2 September the ship stopped briefly at Guam before pressing on with a Micronesian cruise calling at Koror Babelthuap and Yap before returning to Guam and subsequent operations transporting men and materiel to Yokosuka.


On 25 October with the ship's dependents on board Tom Green County cruised from Yokosuka to Tokyo unloading the dependents upon arrival and on-loading a 5-ton 135-foot totem pole from Alaska to transport it to the World's Fair-Expo '70 at Osaka. Operation "Totem Pole" proceeded to completion on 27 October when the ship docked at Kobe and unloaded her unusual cargo.


After a one-night liberty Tom Green County joined Vernon County (LST-1161) Washoe County (LST- 1165) and Westchester County (LST-1167) in support of Operation "Keystone Lift" from Danang where they made port on 5 November. Four and one-half hours later the tank landing ship got underway for Kin Red Okinawa with elements of the 3d Battalion 12th Ma rines embarked and arrived at her destination on the 11th unloaded and disembarked the troops; and headed


back toward Yokosuka. En route however the ship was redirected to Danang for another lift and she took on board a full cargo of railroad rolling stock. Her ship's historian nicknamed Tom Green County the "Ghost Ship of Danang" because of her nocturnal load ing operation in which she arrived after dark and was gone before the dawn. On the night of the 25th Tom Green County made port at Okinawa unloaded in just one and one-half hours and steamed for Yokosuka her job completed. Four days later on the afternoon of 29 November the ship arrived at her home port in time to spend Thankgiving of 1969 at "home."


Returning to the business of transporting marines soon thereafter Tom Green County completed one round-trip haul from Okinawa to Numazu before mak ing port at Yokosuka on 13 December for a year-end leave and upkeep period.


For the next two years Tom Green County remained in the Far East serving as she had done since she was first homeported at Yokosuka. Late in 1971 she was ordered home to the United States and her home port changed to San Diego. The tank landing ship departed Japanese waters on 27 October and made port at Pearl Harbor on 12 November for a seven-day stay before beginning the last leg of her voyage to the west coast. Upon her arrival at San Diego on 28 November she soon commenced preinactivation preparations; and on 23 December she cruised in San Diego harbor com mencing the training of the new Spanish crew slated to take over the ship. On 5 January 1972 Tom Green County was decommissioned and transferred to Spain. Renamed Conde de Venadito and designated L-13 she serves the Spanish Navy through 1979.


Tom Green County was awarded 12 engagement stars two Navy Unit Commendations and one Meritorious Unit Commendation for her Vietnam service.

[Note: The above USS TOM GREEN COUNTY (LST-1159) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS TOM GREEN COUNTY (LST-1159) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]