USS Iredell County (LST-839)

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For the liberty ship in World War II, see SS James Iredell.
Iredell County beached on the LST ramp at Da Nang, 1967
Iredell County beached on the LST ramp at Da Nang in the Republic of Vietnam, 1967
Career (United States)
Name: USS LST-839
Builder: American Bridge Company, Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Laid down: 25 September 1944
Launched: 12 November 1944
Commissioned: 6 December 1944
Decommissioned: 24 July 1946
Renamed: USS Iredell County (LST-839), 1 July 1955
Namesake: Iredell County, North Carolina
Recommissioned: 18 June 1966
Decommissioned: July 1970
Struck: February 1979
Honours and
awards:
1 battle stars (World War II)
9 campaign stars, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (Vietnam)
Fate: Loaned to Indonesia, July 1970
Sold outright, February 1979
Career (Indonesia)
Name: KRI Teluk Bone (511)
Acquired: July 1970
Status: in active service, as of 2007[1]
General characteristics
Class & type: LST-542-class tank landing ship
Displacement: 1,625 long tons (1,651 t) light
4,080 long tons (4,145 t) full
Length: 328 ft (100 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draft: Unloaded :
2 ft 4 in (0.71 m) forward
7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) aft
Loaded :
8 ft 2 in (2.49 m) forward
14 ft 1 in (4.29 m) aft
Propulsion: 2 × General Motors 12-567 diesel engines, two shafts, twin rudders
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × LCVPs
Troops: 16 officers, 147 enlisted men
Complement: 7 officers, 104 enlisted men
Armament: • 8 × 40 mm guns
• 12 × 20 mm guns

USS Iredell County (LST-839) was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named after Iredell County, North Carolina, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

Originally laid down as USS LST-839 by the American Bridge Company of Ambridge, Pennsylvania on 25 September 1944; the ship was launched on 12 November 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Arthur Lehner; and commissioned at New Orleans, Louisiana on 6 December 1944 with Lieutenant Waldo F. McNeir in command.

Service history[edit]

World War II, 1945–1946[edit]

After shakedown off the coast of Florida, LST-839 loaded Army troops and cargo and departed New Orleans for the Pacific on 9 January 1945. Steaming via the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor, and Eniwetok, she reached Saipan on 10 March. There she prepared to support the invasion of Okinawa; and, after embarking Seabees and loading construction equipment, she sailed on 12 April for that strategic island, which lay at the gateway to the heart of the Japanese Empire. The campaign was well underway when LST-839 reached Kinmu Wan, Okinawa on 17 April. Despite heavy enemy air raids, she debarked troops and discharged cargo, then returned to Saipan on 21 April to transport additional troops. During the four remaining months of the war, she shuttled troops and equipment among the Marianas, Philippine, and Okinawa staging areas for the possible invasion of Japan. The enemy's acceptance of Allied peace terms precluded an invasion, and the landing ship then operated between the Philippines and Japan, transporting occupation forces until mid-November.

Arriving at Guam on 12 November, LST-839 embarked 500 veterans of the Pacific fighting and sailed on 17 November for the United States. Steaming via Pearl Harbor, she reached San Francisco on 28 December. She sailed for Astoria, Oregon on 25 January 1946; decommissioned at Vancouver, Washington on 24 July; and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet. While berthed in the Columbia River, she was named USS Iredell County (LST-892) on 1 July 1955.

Vietnam War, 1966–1970[edit]

Iredell County recommissioned at San Diego, California on 18 June 1966. Completing training, Iredell County sailed to join the 7th Fleet on 3 September 1966. En route to Japan with her first cargo since 1945, she called at Pearl Harbor and her new homeport of Guam. Exchanging cargo at Iwakuni, Japan on 12 October, Iredell County departed for Da Nang, Vietnam, arriving on 21 October. She shuttled petroleum, building materials, rations, troops, and equipment between Da Nang and Chu Lai 65 miles to the south. She also shuttled cargo from Danang to Cua Viet for most of 1967. In 1968, after an overhaul on Guam and refresher training in Yokosuka, Japan, she sailed for the Vietnam rivers. She carried ammunition and other cargo to the base at Binh Thuy (about 50 mi. from the sea on the Bassac R.) and others farther upstream until March 1969 when she returned to Guam for a month. In April 1969, she once again returned to Da Nang, via Subic Bay in the Philippines, and continued shuttling materials to Cua Viet, Tan My, and Chu Lai. In the summer of 1969 she took the first of President Nixon's 25,000 marines and their equipment from Vietnam to Okinawa. Iredell County transported more than 7,360 tons of cargo and made 12 landings.

Transfer to Indonesia[edit]

She continued to serve the Pacific Fleet and participate operations underway in Southeast Asia until July 1970 when she was decommissioned and transferred (loaned) under terms of the Security Assistance Program to Indonesia. Renamed Teluk Bone, the ship was struck from the Naval Vessel Register and sold outright to Indonesia in February 1979 and still active in service with Indonesian Navy as May 2011.

On Saturday 15 September 2012 KRI Teluk Bone and another world war II era LST the KRI Teluk Bone (exs USS Presque Isle APB-44) participated in the commemorative sail Morotai in order to remember the Allied world war II operation landing in Morotai, 15 September 1944. Interestingly, both ship was participated in the original on 15 September 1944 as a part of Allied expeditionary force.

Awards[edit]

LST-839 received one battle star for World War II service, and as Iredell County the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, and 9 campaign stars for the Vietnam War.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wertheim, Eric, ed. (2007). "Indonesia". The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (15th ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. p. 317. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. OCLC 140283156. 

References[edit]