The LST-799, an LST-542 tank landing ship, was renamed the USS Greer County in honor of Greer County, Oklahoma, on July 1, 1955. The ship was originally laid down on
August 25, 1944, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, by the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company, and launched on October 3. In New Orleans, the ship received her commission and was put under the charge of Lieutenant Daniel C. Millet.
Service in World War II
After shakedown off Florida, the ship loaded construction equipment in Gulfport, Mississippi, and on November 29, left for the West Coast. She loaded cargo that consisted of ammunition at San Francisco and on February 13, 1945, left for Saipan. She soon departed here for Okinawa, where the campaign was about to begin. She joined on April 2, one day into the campaign. The next day, her crew was able to extinguish a blaze on fellow landing ship the LST-599 after that ship was hit by a kamikaze plane.
The LST-799 remained battle-ready for the next month, when she departed for Ulithi in the Caroline Islands. For the remainder of the war, this tank landing ship helped deliver supplies from one American base to another. After the end of World War II, the LST-799 supported occupation forces in the Philippines and Japan until her time of decommissioning on April 22, 1946.
Action in the Korean War
The LST-799 was recommissioned at Yokosuka, Japan on August 26, 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean War. The ship left on September 5 with provisions and cargo of ammunition, arriving two days later at Pusan, Korea. She received a tank unit of United States Marines and then journeyed for the landings at Inchon, which ultimately proved to be a decisive victory for U.S. forces.
The LST-799 was set to receive an overhaul in December, but she was called back into service to evacuate South Korean and American troops from Hungnam. The overhaul was eventually completed in 1951. For a time, she remained in Korean waters, sweeping for mines and performing helicopter rescue operations. She returned to the U.S. from the war in 1953.
After the War
In 1955, the ship was renamed the USS Greer County, and she soon was appointed as the flagship of Mine Squadron 7, which operated along the U.S. west coast. She was decommissioned in 1960, and struck from the naval register and sold for scrap that same year. Overall, the tank landing ship earned one battle star for service in World War II and nine for service in Korea. She also received the Navy Unit Commendation and Korean Presidential Unit Citation.
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.