USS WAHKIAKUM COUNTY (LST-1162)
Wahkiakum County (LST-1162) was laid down as LST-1162 on 21 July 1952
at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls
Shipbuilding Corp.; launched on 23 January 1953; sponsored by Mrs. Wilbur G. Dees; and commissioned on 13 August 1953, Lt. Comdr. I. W. Mathews in command.
shakedown in Guantanamo Bay, LST-1162 operated out of the Atlantic Fleet's amphibious
force base at
Little Creek, Va., for the remainder of 1953, conducting local operations out of Little Creek and off the coast of Florida. In 1954, the LST
participated in Atlantic Fleet amphibious maneuvers "NprAmEx" and
"LantFlex"-and conducted operations with the Operational Development Force out of Key West, Fla.,
testing antisubmarine warfare gear.
Later during the year, LST-1162 visited Havana, Cuba, with embarked naval
reservists. During March 1955, LST-1162 operated off Bloodsworth
Island, conducting gunfire tests and serving
as range safety vessel at the Navy's gunnery practive areas there. On 1
July 1955, LST-1162 was named Wahkiakum
next five years, Wahkiakum County pursued a regular schedule of operations off the east coast
of the United States and into the
Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Operating
with the Atlantic Fleet's amphibious force, the LST served alternatively
as a helicopter carrier-a precursor of the
roles which other ships of her type
would perform during the Vietnam war; as a shore bombardment safety
vessel; an afloat gunnery training ship; and
a transport for Navy construction battalions (CB's or "Seabees") and
end of this period, she deployed to the Mediterranean and operated with the 6th Fleet from May to December 1960. She carried
cargo and troops andparticipated
in amphibious exercises with naval units of NATO powers in the Mediterranean. The ship underwent a major overhaul at Newport
News, Va., in 1961, before
she resumed active operations with a three-month Caribbean deployment.
to Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 12 on 1 July 1961, the LST participated in several amphibious landing exercises and
contingency operations over the remainder
of the year. During July and September, she
transported midshipmen from Annapolis to Little Creek, Va., for annual summer training and began a three-month Caribbean deployment in September.
the Cuban missile crisis in the autumn of Wahkiakum County embarked the 2d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and operated
in support of the blockade
of Cuba from 24 October to 7 December 1962. She deployed to the Mediterranean in
the spring of operating with the 6th Fleet
Amphibious Task Force,
and again to the Caribbean during the spring of 1964.
April 1965, supporters of the ousted Dominican Republic President Juan Bosch launched a coup
d'etat in Santo
Domingo, which soon degenerated into a civil war, with loyalists battling a rebel group backed
by armed civilians.
As the fighting threatened Americans there, the United States sent marines to protect and
evacuate Americans. When it appeared that the revolt had been taken over by Castro's
Cubans, the United States
intervened with more men-paratroops of the 82d
Airborne and marines. During the period from 9 to 17 May 1965, Wahkiakum County operated in support of this
evacuation and intervention operation.
remainder of the 1960's and into 1970, Wahkiakum County operated on
regular deployments to the Caribbean and
at the Inactive Ship Facility, Orange, Tex., on 16 October 1970, Wahkiakum County was
transferred to the
Military Sealift Command (MSC) at Brooklyn, N.Y., on 10 April 1972. Reclassified as T-LST-1162, Wahkiakum County operated with MSC until struck from the Navy list on 11 January
1973. Transferred to the National
Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) berthing
area at Suisun Bay, Calif., soon thereafter,
the LST disappeared from NDRF lists in 1974.
[Note: The above USS WAHKIAKUM COUNTY (LST-1162) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS WAHKIAKUM COUNTY (LST-1162), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]