USS Dunn County LST-742 (1944-1961)
The USS Dunn County LST-742 served in the United States Navy and United States Army from May 1944 to February 1961. Created during World War II, the LST-742 was built as an LST-542-class tank landing ship. Enlisting approximately 130 officers and navy personnel, the LST-742’s purpose was to transport several vehicles, cargo, and landing troops during amphibious operations. General characteristics for this class of tank landing ship include a length of 328 ft., speed of 12 knots, and armed with a single “30/50 caliber gun.
Laid down on March 12th, 1944 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the Dravo Corporation of Neville Island, the LST-742 was launched on April 22nd, 1944, sponsored by Mrs. Harry Lester, and commissioned on May 23rd, 1944 under the command of Lieutenant Warren W. Holmes, USNR.
Service in World War II
In World War II, the LST-742 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and employed during several amphibious operations, including the Lingayen Gulf Landing of January 1945, Visayan Island landings in March and April 1945, and the Tarakan Island operation in April and May 1945. Because of its service during these naval engagements, the LST-742 received three battle stars.
After World War II
Following World War II, the LST-742 was decommissioned on April 26th, 1946 and transferred to the United States Army on June 28th, 1946. The ship was renamed USAT LST-742 during its service in the army for a period of four years. September 1st, 1950, she was transferred back into the United States Navy and renamed the USS Dunn County LST-742 on July 1st 1955. Her namesake came from counties in North Dakota and Wisconsin.
Service in the Korean Conflict
During the Korean War, the USS Dunn County LST-742 served actively with the Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet for a number of years. During this time, the USS Dunn County LST-742 received five battle stars for her service and performance.
After the Korean War, the USS Dunn County LST-742 was decommissioned from the United States Navy on February 1st, 1961. Later, she was sold to the Zidell Explorations, Inc. of Portland, Oregon on September 6th, 1961 for scrapping purposes.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed 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.