San Joaquin County LST-1122
San Joaquin County
(LST-1122: dp. 1,625, 1. 328', b. 50', dr. 11'2" s.
12 k; cpl. 226; a. 8 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. LST-542)
LST-1122 was laid down on 30 October 1944 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Co., Seneca, I11., launched on 24 January 1945 sponsored by Mrs. Alice S. Weaver placed in reduce] commission on 2 February 1945 for ferrying to New Orleans; and commissioned in full on 14 February 1945, Lt. L. L. Hutchinson, USNR, in command.
Following shakedown off Pensacola, Fla., LST-1122 loaded cargo at Gulfport and steamed via the Panama Canal to the Pacific. In .mid-May, she arrived at Pearl Harbor, whence she continued on to deliver cargo in the Marshalls, the Western Carolines, the Ryukyus, and the Marianas. After the cessation of hostilities in mid-August, she continued her cargo and passenger runs. In September, she extended her range to include the Philippines and the Japanese home islands, in which areas she continued to operate through the end of the year.
With the new year, 1946, the tank landing ship was ordered back to the United States. On 18 February she arrived at San Francisco. In May, she shifted to San Diego, whence she conducted operations, primarily off California, until 1949. In January of that year she moved north, conducted exercises in the Aleutians;
and returned to San Diego in March. The following month, she joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, and, on 15 June, she was decommissioned and berthed at San Diego.
In June 1950, hostilities again broke out in the Par East as the North Korean People's Army pushed past the 38th Parallel into the Republic of (South) Korea.
In August, LST-1122 was ordered activated. She was recommissioned on 3 November and departed San Diego on 27 January 1951 for the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, and the Korean combat zone.
LST-1122 arrived at Yokosuka on 3 March. Two weeks later, she got underway for Korea carrying Army troops from Ulsan and Pusan to Inchon. She carried POW's to Koje Do in early April, then returned to Japan where she conducted local operations into May. After a run to Inchon, with marines as passengers, at mid-month, the LST resumed operations in Japanese waters and, through the summer, conducted amphibious training exercises and shuttled cargo in Japanese waters. At the end of September she was back off Korea for the last run of her deployment-carrying Army Engineer units from Inchon to Japan. On 26 October, she completed that run; and, on 5 November, she got underway for California. At the end of the month, LST-1122 was back at San Diego. She remained on the west coast, undergoing overhaul, conducting local operations, and participating in amphibious training exercises through 1952. On 3 January 1953, she sailed west again. Arriving at Yokosuka on 17 February, she resumed amphibious training duties and cargo and passenger runs in Japanese waters; continued those duties into March; and returned to Pusan in April.
For the remaining months of the conflict, she transported troops, vehicles, ammunition, and gasoline between Japanese and Korean ports. After the 27 July truce agreement, she joined the ships assigned to Operation "Big Switch," the POW exchange, and into late September, she carried POW's from their offshore is]and compounds to the Korean mainland, the first stage of their journey north. On 22 September, she returned to Japan. In October, she conducted amphibious exercises, on 21 November, she headed home.
After that tour, the LST, named San Joaquin County on l July 1955, was regularly deployed to the central and western Pacific. There, she performed training and transportation duties for the 7th Fleet similar to those she carried out in the eastern Pacific along the west coast, and in Hawaiian waters, for the 1st Fleet. In 1959, however, her home port was changed to Iwakuni, Japan. She arrived on 26 September and took up station ship duties, including logistic support for Fleet Air Wing 6 and the 1st Marine Air Wing, which she continued until July 1966. She then sailed to Guam for overhaul, participated in search and rescue operations in the Marianas; and, in late November, got underway for her new home port Naha, Okinawa.
Arriving on 1 December, she remained through the month; and, on 9 January 1967, sailed for Sasebo where she loaded ammunition and proceeded to the Philippines and the embattled coast of South Vietnam. On the 29th, she anchored off Danang. On 2 February she joined other LSTs to support the 3d Marine Amphibious Force; and, from the 10th to the 22d, stood off Quang Ngai as helicopters transported her cargo to marines fighting inland. Returning to Danang, she took on rolling stock and headed back to Okinawa.
At the end of March, the LST resumed cargo operations which took her to Korea, Taiwan, and back to South Vietnam where she again offloaded ammunition at Danang. During mid April, members of her crew assisted in the destruction of Mahnomen County (LST912) which had grounded at Chu Lai, but, by the 25th, she was back at Danang to take on unservicable ammunition. On the 29th, she arrived at Subic Bay. From the Philippines, she moved north; offloaded her cargo at Sasebo; then returned to Naha, arriving on 14 June.
Sixteen days later, Guam became San Joaquin County's home port. Departing Okinawa on 1I July she arrived on the 17th and took up varied duties under Commander, Naval Forces Marianas. Her new duties included patrols and cargo operations in the
Trust Territories of the Pacific, support of medical programs; census taking, submarine target vessel services, and search and rescue operations. Also included was logistic support of the United States Naval Station on Chichi Jima which she provided until the Bonins reverted to Japan on 26 June 1968.
A year later, in June 1969, San Joaquin County completed her final operations in the Trust Territories and she got underway for the United States on 4 July to begin inactivation. On 7 August, she arrived at Stockton, Calif., whence she continued on to Bremerton, Wash., where she was decommissioned on 26 September 1969 and berthed as a unit of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 May 1972 and scrapped.
LST-1122 earned five campaign stars during the Korean Conflict and one for service off Vietnam.