Saline County LST-1101


Saline County
(LST-1101: dp. 1,625, 1. 328', b. 50', dr. 13', s. 12 k.;cpl. 119; trp. 147; a. 8 40mm., 12 20mm.; cl. LST511)

LST- l l 01 was laid down on 22 November 1944 by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Co., Evansville Ind.; launched on 3 January 1945, sponsored by Mrs. James J. Tolson; placed in reduced commission on 20 January 1945 and taken down the Mississippi by Ferry Crew No. l4 under Lt. R. I. Pearson; and commissioned in full at New Orleans on 26 January 1945, Lt. James M. Trotman, Jr., USNR, in command.

Following shakedown in the Gulf of Mexico, LST- l10 l loaded a cargo of asphalt and pontoons at Gulfport, Miss., and sailed on 3 March for the Panama Canal. Assigned to LST Group 95, she transited the Panama Canal on the 13th and continued on to Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harbor on 4 April. On the 16th, she took on passengers and proceeded to the Marianas. In early May, she offloaded the asphalt at Guam, then sailed to Saipan to disembark her passengers.

On 29 May, she embarked replacement troops and equipment and headed for the Ryukyus. After encountering drifting mines and a typhoon, she arrived in Nakagusuku Wan, Okinawa, on 8 June. By early July, she had completed offloading and, on the 4th, proceeded to the Hagushi anchorage. Thence, she moved to Naha loaded men and equipment of the 6th Marine Division, and sailed on the 10th for the Marianas.

Disembarking her passengers at Guam, LST-1101 repaired at Saipan, then got underway for the Philippines. She arrived in San Pedro Bay, Leyte, on 28 July; proceeded to Subic Bay, Luzon, at the end of the month, took on troops of the 895th Chemical Warfare Co~mpany in early August, and sailed for Okinawa on the 6th. Arriving on the 11th, she shifted to Ie Shima on the 12th; offloaded there; and returned to the Hagushi anchorage as the war ended.

()n 17 August, the LST cleared Okinawan waters for the Philippines, whence she lifted occupation troops to Honshu, arriving at Yokohama on 15 September. Through October, she moved occupation forces and equipment from Okinawa to Japan; and, in November, she embarked veterans for return to the United States.

Arriving at Pearl Harbor at the end of November, she continued on to California, where she disembarked her passengers. In January 1946, she proceeded to Seattle to begin inactivation; and, on 6 June, she was decommissioned and berthed with the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Ordered activated again in August 1950, as the war in Korea moved into its third month, LST- l l ol was recommissioned on 3 November. In December, she arrived at her home port, San Diego. In January 1951, she trained in local waters, and, in February, she sailed west. On 23 March, she arrived at Yokosuka; shifted to Camp McGill to load personnel and vehicles of A Company, 101st Signal Battalion on 1 April, then headed for Inchon. Offloaded on the 8th, she returned to Japan on the 11th and carried cargo between Japanese ports for the remainder of the month. In May, she again delivered men and cargo to Inchon; and, in June, she returned to cargo runs in the Japanese home islands. In July and August, she conducted amphibious exercises, then, in September, she returned to Korea.

On the 10th, LST-1101 embarked Republic of Korea Army troops at P'ohang Dong, transported them to Cheju Do, then, from the 15th to the 28th, conducted shuttle runs between Pusan and the offshore, POW-inhabited island of Koje Do. On 29 October, she returned to Japan and, toward the end of November, departed Yokosuka for San Diego.

Arriving on 19 December, LST-1101 conducted local exercises into the spring of 1952. Overhaul followed; and, in the fall, she resumed operations out of San Diego. On 3 January 1953, as the truce negotiations dragged on in Korea, she got underway to return to the combat zone. On 7 February, she arrived at Yokosuka. In early March, she proceeded to Sasebo; and, on the 12th, she returned to Pusan. Thence, she continued on to the west coast of the peninsula and, for the remainder of the month, ferried cargo and personnel to United-Nations-held islands off that coast. In April, she returned to Sasebo, but, on the 20th, was back in the war zone for Operation "Little Switch," the repatriation of sick and seriously wounded POWs. During the operation, she carried Communist POWs from Koje Do to Pusan the first leg of their trip north.

At the end of the month, the LST returned to Japan. A month later, she resumed cargo runs to Korea and shuttle runs between ports and beaching areas in United-Nations-held territory.

After the signing of the truce agreement in late July, LST- l101 continued to ply Japanese and Korean waters until the end of October. Then, sailing for home, she arrived at San Diego in late November and resumed local operations.

With the return of more peaceful conditions, LST1101 named Saline County on 1 July 1955, rotated regularly between San Diego-based training exercises and cargo runs and duty with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific. Ranging from Japan to the Philippines during her 7th Fleet deployments, she covered the west coast and operated in the Hawaiian Islands while with the 1st Fleet. In November 1958, she completed her last western Pacific tour. A year later, she shifted to Alaskan shuttle runs; and, in 1960, she was ordered inactivated.

Saline County was decommissioned on 9 March 1960 and her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 November of the same year. Later, she was transferred to Germany, converted to a mine layer, and served the German Navy as Bottrop ( N 121) until September 1971 when she was decommissioned and scrapped.

LST-1101 earned one battle star during World War II and five for service during the Korean Conflict.