The USS Mahnomen County, originally named the LST-912, was a 1,600 ton LST-542 class tank landing ship. She was named after Mahnomen County, Minnesota, and commissioned on May 21, 1944.
Service in World War II and Vietnam
The LST-912’s first deployment was to the Admiralty Islands in June 1944 as part of the 7th Amphibious Fleet. After unloading her cargo at Manus she steamed to New Guinea, arriving at Humboldt Bay on September 10. Following exercises there, she traveled to Morotai Island and then to Soeme Island to load elements of the 113th Seabee Battalion, returning with her cargo on October 5. Five days later, she set out for Pie Beach to embark Army troops bound for White Beach in Leyte Gulf.
She returned to Hollandia on October 29, and then sailed to Wake Island five days later to pick up another load of troops for delivery to the Philippines. Her guns brought down an enemy fighter during the landing. On her next New Guinea-Philippines trip a Japanese “Val” dive bomber crashed into the ship killing four crewmen. She continued to operate in the Philippines until April 19 when she departed for Borneo. The ship returned to the Philippines in July, staying there until the end of hostilities in August. Remaining in the Far East for occupation duties, she then returned to the U.S. in January 1946.
Reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet, the LST-912 eventually arrived at Little Creek, Virginia, for a two-year tour with the Amphibious Force. In July 1948 she sailed to the Mediterranean for an eight-month deployment. The ship continued to operate out of Little Creek until 1955 when she was placed in reserve. She was renamed the USS Mahnomen County on July 1 and decommissioned in August.
Destruction at Chu Lai
The ship was recommissioned March 27, 1963, spending the next three years operating along the East Coast as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In December 1965 she was placed on active duty and in January 1966 she departed for Southeast Asia. The ship performed supply and transport operations until December 30 when she was slammed ashore by typhoon winds. Salvage attempts were unsuccessful.
Struck from the Navy List on January 31, 1967, her hull was subsequently demolished.Â Â The Mahnomen County was awarded four battle stars for service in World War II as well as two campaign stars for service in Vietnam.
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, includingÂ 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.