USS La Moure County (LST-1194)
USS La Moure County (LST-1194) underway, date and place unknown. Her retracted bow ramp can be seen on deck. Heavy transport helicopters operate from the flight deck aft of her unusual odd-sized staggered stacks. The vehicle deck in the Newport-class, as in earlier LSTs, extends nearly the length of the ship. Conventional vehicles land on the beach over the bow ramp, while amphibious types can debark offshore through a stern gate.
|Name:||USS La Moure County|
|Namesake:||La Moure County|
|Builder:||National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California|
|Laid down:||22 May 1970|
|Launched:||13 February 1971|
|Commissioned:||18 December 1971|
|Decommissioned:||17 November 2000|
|Struck:||17 November 2000|
|Fate:||Sunk as a target, 10 July 2001|
|Class and type:||Newport-class tank landing ship|
|Length:||523 ft 3 in (159.49 m)|
|Beam:||69 ft 9.5 in (21.273 m)|
|Depth:||8 ft (2.4 m) forward, 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m) aft (full load)|
|Installed power:||3 × ALCO 251-C, 8-cylinder generator sets (750 kW)|
|Speed:||21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph)|
|Boats & landing
|2 × LCPLs|
|Troops:||18 officers, 21 SNCO, 268 enlisted|
|Complement:||14 officers, 15 CPO, 226 enlisted|
|Aviation facilities:||Helicopter landing deck|
USS La Moure County (LST-1194) was the sixteenth of twenty Newport-class tank landing ship (LSTs) built for the United States Navy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Named after La Moure County, North Dakota, she was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.
La Moure County was laid down 22 May 1970 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California; launched 13 February 1971; and commissioned 18 December 1971 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, California. The ship's status was changed to Active Reserve Force on 30 September 1995. Damaged beyond economical repair on 12 September 2000 due to grounding at Caleta Cifuncho Bay, Chile, La Moure County was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register 17 November 2000 at Talcahuano, Chile.
Grounding and aftermath
The ship was accidentally run aground near the coast of Caleta Cifuncho Bay, Chile in the pre-dawn hours of 12 September 2000 during a routine amphibious training operation with a sister vessel, the Chilean Valdiva. A combination of the speed of the ship at impact and the incoming tide resulted in extensive damage to the bow, keel, screws (propellers), and rudders. Extensive internal flooding and the dumping 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel only served to complicate matters. She was unable to get off the rocky point under her own power, and wave action continued to cause even more damage to the hull and keel. Eventually, the ship was towed off the rocks by the seagoing Chilean Navy tug Galvarino (ATF 66), which was in the immediate vicinity. Galvarino continued to provide rescue and salvage support to La Moure County several days after the incident.
With the ship's screws mostly missing and the rudders and steering gear destroyed, the crew continued emergency repairs in Cifuncho Bay, a few hundred yards from the impact point, to make her seaworthy for the 700-mile (1,100 km) tow to Talcahuano, Chile. The ship's commanding officer was relieved of duty and replaced via helicopter a few days later. The attached Marine force onboard was transferred to the US naval ship Tortuga (LSD-46) shortly after that. After getting underway 28 October, she arrived at Talcahuano on the 31st, under tow by the Chilean icebreaker Oscar Viel Toro. This was her final port, as repairs to her severely damaged hull and machinery were judged to be uneconomical. Within a few weeks, 90% of the crew was returned to the United States. A total of forty officers and enlisted personnel remained behind to see the now-derelict ship towed to the Chilean naval base at Talcahuano for decommissioning.
Having been stripped of all usable material, the damaged hulk of La Moure County was towed out to sea and sunk as a target on 10 July 2001 during UNITAS 2001, at Coordinates: , about 130 nmi (240 km; 150 mi) west of Valparaíso; she now rests at a depth of 1,841 fathoms (3,400 m).
- McMichael, William (2 October 2000). "Navy ship hits reef, spills diesel fuel". Navy Times Magazine.
- "LST-1194 La Moure County". Amphibious Photo Archive. Retrieved 2 August 2007.
- The Virginian-Pilot, articles by Jack Dorsey; "Norfolk-based Navy ship hits reef off coast of Chile"- Sept 13th 2000, "Navy may have to scrap ship that ran aground off Chile"- 6 October 2000, Navy Chief orders one-day safety standdown after accidents" Sept 16th 2000; Navy Times, articles from September to November 2000, and November 2001.
The ex-USS La Moure County (LST-1194), sunk as a target, 10 July 2001. As part of the annual UNITAS exercise she was towed offshore and expended as a target. She is seen here during the first phase of the SINKEX, a gunfire exercise.