Originally named the USS LST-561, the USS Chittenden County was a U.S. tank landing ships, which landed tanks and other military vehicles during amphibious assaults. Although this vessel and other such ships served primarily in World War II, many also aided the war efforts in Korea and Vietnam.
Action in World War II
The Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company of Evansville, Indiana constructed the vessel in 1944. The ship was commissioned in May of that year and after shakedown, she began service in the Mediterranean, arriving in August of 1944 to support the invasion of southern France.
After the War
After her World War II service in southern France, the USS Chittenden County returned to the U.S. and was decommissioned. She then underwent an overhaul before being inactivated and placed in the Reserve Fleet. Her overhaul completed, on April 30, 1946 she entered the Naval Reserve, remaining there for over four years.
However, the outbreak of the Korean War saw the vessel get recommissioned in 1950. On September 18, 1950, the Chittenden County returned to war, entering the Pacific to sail to Korea to help with that war effort. For the next three years, the vessel supported U.N. and U.S. forces in the conflict.
In 1958, the USS Chittenden County was deemed unnecessary and was sent back into the reserve fleet. Later that year, she was struck from the Naval Register, eventually getting sunk as a target. The USS Chittenden County earned two battle stars for her service in the Korean War.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, auxiliary vessels also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.