USS Outagamie County LST-1073
The USS Outagamie County was first laid down on February 20, 1945 in Massachusetts. She was launched on March 22, 1945 and commissioned as LST-1073 on April 17, 1945.
The LST-1073 was deployed once during World War II. On June 4, 1945 the ship left the east coast for duty with the Pacific Fleet. She traversed the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor in the beginning of July. From Pearl Harbor, the LST-1073 traveled to Saipan, Guam and arrived in Japan on September 24, 1945. She performed duties around this area until arriving in San Francisco on January17, 1946 where she was decommissioned and added to the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Service in the Korean War
On November 3, 1950, the LST-1073 was re-commissioned after communists invaded South Korea. The ship left the Californian coast February 11, 1951 and arrived in Japan in March. During this tour, the LST-1073 transported over 17,000 prisoners of war from Korea to Japan. She returned to the U.S. in November. Over the next ten years, the LST continued working in the Pacific, providing transport for people, equipment, and supplies. She took an active part in Operation Big Switch and was deployed as part of the 187th Regimental Airborne Team. The ship was re-commissioned on July 1, 1955 when Naval rules stated that all ships must carry a name rather than numbering and lettering. She was named the USS Outagamie County. She won 6 Battle stars for her Korean War service.
Service in the Vietnam War
In January of 1966, the Outagamie County arrived in Da Nang, South Vietnam to begin operations in the Vietnam Conflict. During her multiple tours in Vietnam, the Outagamie County made several landings. She remained in Vietnam until 1971. During her service, she was awarded 8 Battle Stars and the ship and/or members of her crew were presented with many awards including the Gallantry Cross. The ship was awarded 3 stars and the Combat Action Ribbon for her services. The ship returned to the United States in 1971 and was decommissioned on 21 May 1971. She was sold to Brazil where she served as Garcia D’Avilla (G28) until she was decommissioned in 1990.
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.