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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Blanco County (LST-344)
USS LST-344 (1943 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Yankee - Whiskey - Zulu
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Medal (Vietnam, 1-2 January 1967) - Navy Unit Commendation - American Campaign Medal
Second Row - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (3) - World War II Victory Medal - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Third Row - Vietnam Service Medal (5) - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (5) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 18 October 1942, at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA.
  • Launched, 15 December 1942
  • Commissioned USS LST 344, 14 January 1943, LT. Maurice G. Jackson, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-344 was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Sicilian occupation, 9 to 15 July 1943 Invasion of Normandy 6 to 25 June 1944
    Salerno landing 9 to 21 September 1943  

  • Decommissioned, 7 June 1946, in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet Green Cove Springs,, FL.
  • Recommissioned, 5 January 1952, at Norfolk, VA., LT. John W. Wright, USNR, in command
  • Named USS Blanco County (LST-344), 1 July 1955
  • Decommissioned, 28 February 1956 and laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Green Cove Springs
  • Recommissioned, 9 June 1966, at NAB Little Creek, VA., Lt. Bernard E. Burgett in command
  • During the Vietnam War USS Blanco County (LST-344) served continuously in country and in contiguous waters, with the exception of overhaul periods, from late 1966 to late 1968 participating in the following campaigns. (Dates listed do not include underway transit times within the contiguous waters along the Vietnam coast as defined by the US Navy and so specified by the Vietnam Service Medal.)

    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    19 November 1966 to 22 January 1967
    17 March to 2 May 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    1 July 1968
    9 October to 1 November 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    27 June to 2 August 1967
    7 October to 18 December 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    2 to 11 November 1968
    18 November to 13 December 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV
    15 April to 30 June 1968

  • Decommissioned, 3 October 1969, at Orange, TX.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 15 September 1974
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 1 July 1975, to W.L. Weeks
  • USS LST-344 earned three battle stars for World War II service, and as USS Blanco County (LST-344) the Navy Unit Commendation and five campaign stars for Vietnam War service
    1,625 t.(lt)
    4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
    2,366 t. (beaching displacement)
    Length 328' o.a.
    Beam 50'
    light 2' 4" fwd, 7' 6" aft
    sea-going 8' 3" fwd, 14' 1" aft
    landing 3' 11" fwd, 9' 10" aft (landing w/500 ton load)
    limiting 11' 2"
    maximum navigation 14' 1"
    Speed 11.6 kts. (trial)
    Endurance 24,000 miles @ 9kts. while displacing 3960 tons
    13 officers
    104 enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    16 officers
    147 enlisted
    Boats 2 LCVP
    Cargo Capacity (varied with mission - payloads between 1600 and 1900 tons)
    Typical loads
    One Landing Craft Tank (LCT), tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment and military supplies. A ramp or elevator forward allowed vehicles access to tank deck from main deck
    Additional capacity included sectional pontoons carried on each side of vessel amidships, to either build Rhino Barges or use as causeways. Married to the bow ramp, the causeways would enabled payloads to be delivered ashore from deeper water or where a beachhead would not allow the vessel to be grounded forward after ballasting
    Armament (varied with availability when each vessel was outfitted. Retro-fitting was accomplished throughout WWII. The ultimate armament design for United States vessels was
    2 - Twin 40MM gun mounts w/Mk. 51 directors
    4 - Single 40MM gun mounts
    12 single 20MM gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    Diesel 4,300 Bbls
    two General Motors 12-567A, 900hp Diesel engines
    single Falk Main Reduction Gears
    three Diesel-drive 100Kw 230V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
    two propellers, 1,700shp
    twin rudders

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    USS LST-344
    Blanco County 51k LST-344 launching, 15 December 1942, Mrs. Bonnie Ward, Wife of H.H. Ward, Master Mechanist, Inside Machine Shop Master, christens the ship, at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, VA., Lt. R. I. Coleman, Aide to the Commandant is also on the platform.
    US Navy photo
    Handley Ward, Jr.
    LST-338 255k USS LST-344 and USS LST-338 beached at Red Beach Gela Sicily, 10 July 1943. USS LST-338 is unloading tanks across a pontoon causeway.
    US Army Signal Corps photo.
    Raymond Cvetovich, Ph.D.
    Blanco County 913k USS LST-344, (left) and USS LST-338 (right) unloading troops and supplies on the Gela invasion beaches in Sicily on "D-Day", 10 July 1943. Broached LCVP at right is from USS Barnett (APA-5). Next LCVP to the left is from USS Monrovia (APA-31). Photographed by Paris.
    US Army Signal Corps photo # III SC 180443 from the US Army Signal Corps Collection now in the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr
    LST-312 1156k USS LST-344 at left, along with numerous LCVPs from transports anchored offshore, landing troops and equipment at Gela, Sicily, 10 June 1943. USS LST-312, at right, is approaching the beach with her ramp still in the up position.
    US National Archives photo # III-SC 181046, Box 181, a US Army Signal Corps. photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr
    Blanco County 947k USS LST-344 and USS LST-338 beached at the Gela beachhead in Sicily, 10 July 1943, while unloading men and materials.
    US Army Signal Corps photo # III SC 180453, by Osborne, from the US Army Signal Corps Collection now in the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr
    Blanco County 65k USS LST-344 underway, date and location unknown, original World War II configuration.  
    Blanco County 148k USS LST-344 moored pierside, at Norfolk, VA. in 1952. The ship moored forward of LST-344 is USS Corduba (AF-32). Mike Smolinski, from Carl Musselman via SteelNavy.Com (
    Blanco County 520k USS LST-344 change of command at Norfolk, VA., 17 July 1952. LT Warden S. Lee, USNR. relieved LT. John W. Wright, USNR.
    Official US Navy photo - PIO Commander Service Force US Atlantic Fleet
    Tommy Trampp
    USS Blanco County (LST-344)
    Blanco County 57k USS Blanco County (LST-344) entering the harbor at Malta, circa 1957. LST Home Port web site
    Blanco County 52k USS Blanco County (LST-344) unloading at night in October 1968 at the Port of Cua Viet, I Corps Tactical Zone, South Vietnam. Photo by Art Moore
    Blanco County 25k USS Blanco County (LST-344) underway off Guam in the 1960s with Army LCU-1517 loaded on her main deck. US Naval Historical Center

    USS LST-344 / USS Blanco County (LST-344)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    History of USS Blanco County (LST-344) - Mobile Riverine Force Association
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Jackson, Maurice G. USNR14 January 1943 - 7 February 1943
    02LT. Hensley, Ralph B. USN7 February 1943 - April 1945
    03LT. Benner, Allen R., USNRApril 1945 - 17 July 1945
    04LT. Barber, Oliver W., USN17 July 1945 - 29 January 1946
    05LTjg. Clark, Charles S., USN29 January 1946 - 7 June 1946
     Decommissioned7 June 1946 - 5 January 1952
    06LT. Wright, John William, USNR5 January 1952 - 17 July 1952
    07LT. Lee, Warden S., USNR17 July 1952 - ?
     Decommissioned26 February 1956 - 9 June 1966
    08LT. Burgett, Bernard Edward9 June 1966 - ?
    09LCDR. Weegar, Carl Allen1969 - 3 October 1969
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    The USS LST Ship Memorial
    Mobile Riverine Force Association
    LST Home Port
    State LST Chapters
    United States LST Association
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Tank Landing Ship (LST) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 23 November 2018