USS Park County LST-1077
The LST-1077 was an LST-542-class tank landing ship that was built in March of 1945 in Massachusetts and launched on April 18th, 1945. She was commissioned on May 8th with Lieutenant I.W. Matthews as her commander.
Service in World War II
During World War II, the LST-1077 spent most of her time as a training ship in the Pacific. On August 29th, 1945 she was sent to Japan with a full load of occupation troops. Following World War II, most ships in her class were decommissioned and sold for scrap without ever earning names, but the LST-1077 was sent to perform occupation duty in the Far East until November 1945. In July of 1946, she was decommissioned and sent to the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Service in the Korean Conflict
The LST-1077 was re-commissioned on September 6th, 1950 and assigned to extensive duty throughout the Korean War where she was to earn five battle stars for her participation in many bombardments, sinking enemy vehicles and rescue operations. Again she was decommissioned on May 12, 1955. It was on this day she received a name and was re-designated Park County, named after counties in Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming. During this time she was moved to base at Bremerton, WA as part of the reserve fleet.
Service in the Vietnam War
On April 9th, 1966 the LST-1077 underwent a complete overhaul to be modernized in Portland, Oregon and then was sent to the Vietnam War, this time to earn 11 battle stars. The Park County spent most of the Vietnam War transporting Navy and Marine troops, transporting cargo, and providing water support for military operations. She was also used again as a training vehicle for troops who would be sent into the war. She was sent home in November of 1971.
Finally, she was decommissioned for the final time in September of 1971 and moved to the Mexican Navy, where she was re-designated the Rio Panuco. Details of her career and fate in the Mexican Navy are 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.