The navy ship that was to become the USS Duval County LST-758 began her illustrious career as the LST 758 on the ship planks in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, by the shipbuilders, American Bridge Company on June 5, 1944. She was christened by Mrs. F.D. Colburn on July 25, 1944, and commissioned on August 19, 1944. She was designated the LST-758, a 542-class tank landing ship built for the Navy.
Service in World War II
During World War II, the Duval County was used to patrol the Asiatic and Pacific coasts, participating in attacks and occupations of many battle zone areas. She participated in the attack of Iwo Jima in February of 1945 and on the attack of Okinawa Gunto in the spring of 1945. The LST-758 won two battle stars for her success in battle during World War II. The ship won a total of 6 battle stars but 4 were won after she was renamed and her registry changed during the Korean War.
Service in the Korean Conflict
In July 13, 1946, the Duval County was retired from service. On November 3, 1950, she was brought out of retirement to aid in the Korean War. On July 1, 1955, she was renamed the USS Duval LST-758, in honor of counties in Texas and Florida.
Following her change of name, she was used in the Pacific and in the Atlantic with naval fleets until she was once again retired on October 28, 1969. The USS Duval County LST-758 won 4 battle stars for her success in battle during the Korean War. The ship had various duties which included transporting prisoners of war following the conflict.
After the War
The USS Duval County LST 758 is on the list of navy ships that were used during the Cuban missile crisis. She patrolled the coasts of California from which she was sent on many navy exercises. She was retired and in dry dock in San Diego, California, until 1976. On November 1, 1976, The USS Duval was taken off of the Naval Vessel Registry. They turned her over to the National Defense Reserve Fleet MARAD. On August 18, 1981, she was sold by them to unknown buyers. Her current condition is unknown.
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.