USS Garrett County (LST-786)

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LST-786 passing under the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, 20 August 1966
USS Garrett County (LST-786) passing under the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco Bay, 20 August 1966, probably during acceptance trials prior to recommissioning. Garrett County was activated by the Supervisor of Shipbuilding San Francisco, and moved to Mare Island for commissioning.
History
Name: USS LST-786
Builder: Dravo Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Laid down: 21 May 1944
Launched: 22 July 1944
Commissioned: 28 August 1944
Decommissioned: 9 July 1946
Renamed: USS Garrett County (LST-786), 1 July 1955
Recommissioned: 15 October 1966
Decommissioned: 23 April 1971
Reclassified: AGP-786 (Patrol Craft Tender), October 1966
Honours and
awards:
Fate: Transferred to South Vietnam, 23 April 1971
Ensign of South VietnamVietnam
Name: RVNS Can Tho (HQ-801)
Acquired: 23 April 1971
Fate: Transferred to the Republic of the Philippines, 1973
Ensign of PhilippinesPhilippines
Name: BRP Kalinga Apayao (LT-516)
Acquired: 1973
Decommissioned: September 2010
Status: Scrapped in 2012.
General characteristics
Class and 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:

USS Garrett County (LST-786) was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named after Garrett County, Maryland, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

LST-786 was laid down on 21 May 1944 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the Dravo Corporation; launched on 22 July 1944; sponsored by Mrs. E. B. Keckler; and commissioned on 28 August 1944 with Lieutenant Eli T. Ringler, USCG, in command.

Service history[edit]

World War II, 1944–1946[edit]

During World War II, LST-786 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the assault and occupation of Iwo Jima from 12 to 28 February 1945, and the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto in May and June 1945. Following the war, she performed occupation duty in the Far East and saw service in China until mid-December 1945. LST-786 was decommissioned on 9 July 1946 at Astoria, Oregon and assigned to the Columbia River Group of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. On 1 July 1955 the ship was redesignated USS Garrett County (LST-786).

Vietnam War, 1966–1971[edit]

Recommissioned on 15 October 1966 at Mare Island Naval Shipyard with Lieutenant James C. Kunz USN in command. Garrett County saw extensive service during the Vietnam War, operating as part of Operation Game Warden, a brown-water navy effort to keep the rivers free of Viet Cong infiltration. Four LST were recommissioned to support river patrol operations with the intent of keeping three ships on-station at any one time supporting a River Division of 10 River Patrol Boats (PBR), a Detachment of 2 UH-1 Helicopter Gunships and a SEAL Platoon. The ship not on-station was undergoing ship repairs in the Western Pacific. USS Garrett County reported on-station to CTF 116 on 12 March 1967 and operated as a Patrol Craft Tender (AGP) for the next 48 months on the rivers of the Mekong Delta.[1]

The ship participated in the following campaigns: Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III (29 November 1967 to 29 January 1968); Tet Counteroffensive (30 January to 1 April 1968); Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV (2 April to 30 June 1968); Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V (1 July to 1 November 1968); Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI (2 November to 2 December 1968 and 23 January 1969); Tet/69 Counteroffensive (28 February to 8 June 1969); Vietnam Summer-Fall 1969 (9 June to 11 August 1969, 7 September 1969, and 31 December 1969 to 21 February 1970); and Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII (1 September 1970, 5 to 30 November 1970, and 31 December 1970 to 2 February 1971).

LST-786 earned one battle star for World War II service, and two Presidential Unit Citation, two Navy Unit Commendation, and eight battle stars for the Vietnam War.

Republic of Vietnam and Philippine Navy[edit]

Decommissioned and transferred to South Vietnam for service in the Republic of Vietnam Navy on 23 April 1971, she was renamed RVNS Can Tho (HQ-801). The ship and her crew escaped to the Philippines during the fall of the South Vietnamese government, after which custody was transferred to the Republic of the Philippines. She was renamed BRP Kalinga Apayao (LT-516) for service in the Philippine Navy.

She was decommissioned on September 2010 and was reportedly scrapped at Naval Base Cavite in 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ CWO3 John Trolinger, Instructor/Boat Captain/Patrol Leader

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

USS Garrett County (AGP-786) at anchor in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam, date unknown. On her deck are two Navy Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron Three (HAL-3) "Seawolf" UH-1B Huey gunships from the squadrons Det Three or Det Six assigned to the ship.
LST-786 launching, 22 July 1944 at Dravo Corporation, Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.