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USS SUFFOLK COUNTY (LST-1173 ) - a De Soto County-class tank landing ship

In Commission 1957 to 1972

LST-1173 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LST-1173 Shellback Initiation Add a LST-1173 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JAN 1944 - JAN 1944 Middle Pacific
JUL 1955 - Keel Date: 17 JUL 1955
at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Newport News VA
SEP 1956 - Launch Date: 5 SEP 1956
AUG 1957 - Commissioned: 15 AUG 1957
JUL 1958 - AUG 1958 Amphibious Training Exercises - Puerto Rico
SEP 1958 - MAR 1959 Mediterranean-Lebanon
JUN 1959 - JUL 1959 Inland Seas - Opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway
NOV 1959 - MAY 1960 Mediterranean
JAN 1960 - JUN 1960 Mediterranean
JUL 1960 - SEP 1960 Charleston S.C. Naval Shipyard - Dry Dock
JUL 1960 - SEP 1960 Charkeston S.C. Naval Shipyard - Dry Dock
DEC 1960 - JAN 1961 Caribbean Cruise
APR 1961 - JUN 1961 Caribbean - Cuba and Dominican Republic Crisis
SEP 1961 - Shellback Initiation - 29 SEP 1961 - Atlantic Ocean
SEP 1961 - DEC 1961 West Africa
NOV 1961 - APR 1962 West Africa
NOV 1961 - Shellback Initiation - 10 NOV 1961 - Atlantic Ocean
OCT 1962 - OCT 1962 Cuban Missle Blockade
JUN 1963 - DEC 1963 Mediterranean
JAN 1964 - MAY 1964 Panama Canal
SEP 1964 - DEC 1964 Operation Steel Pike- Largest peacetime amphibious landing
MAR 1965 - MAY 1965 Great Lakes
NOV 1965 - NOV 1965 dominican republic
SEP 1966 - DEC 1966 Caribbean
JUN 1967 - JUL 1967 Caribbean
JAN 1970 - APR 1970 Caribbean
SEP 1971 - APR 1972 Mediterranean
AUG 1972 - Decommissioned: 25 AUG 1972

LST-1173 General Specifications

Class: De Soto County-class tank landing ship

Named for: Suffolk County

Complement: 170 Officers and Enlisted

Displacement: 3560 tons

Length: 446 feet

Beam: 62 feet

Flank Speed: 17 knots

Final Disposition: Sold for scrapping 31 March 1999


Suffolk County (LST-1173) was laid down on 17 July 1955 by the Boston Naval Shipyard Boston Mass. launched on 5 September 1956 sponsored by Mrs. Thomas P. O'Neill Jr.; and commissioned on 15 August 1957 Lt. Comdr. James E. Brown in command.

Suffolk County fitted out at Boston and sailed for Norfolk Va. on 1 October to hold shakedown training and exercises in beaching. She returned to Boston from 5 December 1957 to 3 February 1958 for post-shakedown availability. The ship was back at Norfolk three days later and began local training exercises. From 19 July to 7 August the LST participated in amphibious training exercises off Puerto Rico.

Suffolk County departed Norfolk on 8 September and after embarking marines at Morehead City N.C. sailed for the Mediterranean and her first tour with the 6th Fleet. Between fleet exercises she called at ports in Lebanon, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Libya, and Spain. The ship stood out of Rota Spain on 12 March 1959. After disembarking the marines at Morehead City she returned to Norfolk on the 26th. In June she participated in Operation "Inland Seas" which was the formal opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway for ocean-going ships.

Suffolk County returned to Norfolk in August and was assigned to Amphibious Squadron (PhibRon) 8 which promptly deployed to the Mediterranean until 12 June 1960 when it returned to Norfolk. After a leave and upkeep period she moved to Charleston S.C. for her first overhaul which lasted from mid-July to 15 September. As a unit of PhibRon 8 the ship participated in a landing demonstration off Onslow Beach N.C. from 29 October to 3 November. The following month found her in the Caribbean on a two-month deployment ending at Norfolk on 17 January 1961.

Suffolk County returned to the Caribbean in April on a normal deployment. However she was called upon to operate off Guantanamo Bay from 25 April to 5 May and off the Dominican Republic from 1 to 13 June because of the international tension those two countries were creating. She returned to Norfolk and operated from there until 15 September when she sailed on Solant Amity III deployment. After loading marines and equipment at North Carolina she proceeded to Trinidad. Suffolk County was attached to Task Force (TF) 88 for the remainder of the cruise which included port calls at South Africa French Equatorial Africa, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. She returned to Little Creek on 16 December 1961.

Suffolk County operated along the east coast participating in various operations deployments and exercises which took her as far south as the Caribbean Panama and the Dominican Republic until 1966. She was at Guantanamo on 26 September 1966 when hurricane "Inez" struck the Caribbean and left a path of destruction in Hispaniola. Suffolk County aided the inhabitants of Jacmel-Cayes Anse-a-Pitre and Marigot on the southern coast of Haiti until 7 October. The LST then continued her routine operations until early 1968.

On 16 April 1968 Suffolk County sailed for another deployment period with the 6th Fleet which lasted until 4 June. Normal peacetime east coast operations were resumed until September 1970 when she steamed to the Mediterranean to partake in a two-month exercise with North Atlantic Treaty Organization fleet units which ended on 18 November 1970. Her normal routine was next broken in September 1971 when she deployed to the 6th Fleet for her longest tour in years which lasted until mid-March 1972.

When Suffolk County arrived at Norfolk she was ordered to prepare for inactivation. A "stand-down" phase was begun on 24 May which lasted until 1 July when she was placed in commission in reserve. On 25 August 1972 Suffolk County was placed out of commission in reserve. As of February 1974 Suffolk County was still out of commission in reserve and berthed at Norfolk Va.

[Note: The above USS SUFFOLK COUNTY (LST-1173) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS SUFFOLK COUNTY (LST-1173) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]