USS Orange County LST-1068
The USS Orange County (LST-1068) was constructed by Bethlehem Steel Company located in Hingham, MA, on January 31st, 1945. The vessel was a Landing Ship Tank and the military used this type of ship to transport cargo, vehicles and troops to shore. The Orange County was backed by Mrs. Alice R. Wilbur and she was ready for sea on May 11th with Lt. Clinton E. Voyles in charge.
Service in World War II
The USS Orange County first duty entailed transporting pontoon causeways, Landing Craft Tank Sections, and troops. The ship sailed through the Panama Canal and on June 27th, she was on her way to Guam and then to Saipan. The group arrived on August 11th, 1945; after unloading her cargo she was ordered to sail to Okinawa and arrived there on August 28th. A storm rolled in and lasted for three days and nights, causing the Orange County to leave her port and ride out the storm safely.
She transported the Air Corps recruits on September 27th and then left for Ominato. Her duty there was to ship a Port Director Unit. The vessel was then on her way for Manila via Yokohama where she stayed for five days. Her next assignment was to carry occupation troops to Tokyo.
The Orange County was sent to make a swap with low-point crew members for high-point recruits and then she was sent to Pearl Harbor. The vessel was then put in reserve and docked in Astoria, OR.
Service in the Korean Conflict
The Orange County was placed back on duty September, 8th, 1950. She was tested at sea to ensure that she was fit for duty and then journeyed to the Far East. From February to May the transport ship was busy moving materials and men. In the month of June she was ordered back to the U.S. for refurbishment.
The USS Orange County was then resent to Korean waters and was in constant use, transporting landing troops, provisions, and prisoners. On January 19, 1954, the transport vessel was sent to join five other LST vessels as a part of Division 13 to make a return trip to San Diego. Her duties entailed nearby operations and maintenance positions.
The Orange County was a vessel used often by the U.S. Navy and was retired on October 15th, 1957. She was officially removed from the Navy list on September 27th, 1957; the ship was used for training and sunk on June 18th, 1958.
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.