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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Chesterfield County (LST-551)
USS LST-551 (1944 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Echo - Uniform - Delta
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom left to right
Top Row - American Campaign Medal - European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal
Second Row - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Europe clasp) - National Defense Service Medal (2) - Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Dominican Republic)
Third Row - Vietnam Service Medal (2) - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

LST-542 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 15 January 1944, by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Co., Evansville, IN.
  • Launched, 11 March 1944
  • Commissioned USS LST-551, 14 April 1944, LT. S. Kimmel, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-551 was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and participated in the following campaign:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
    Campaign and Dates
    Invasion of southern France 14 August to 7 September 1944

  • Following World War II LST-551 was assigned to Occupation service in the European area from 8 May to 9 July 1945
  • Decommissioned, 10 June 1955
  • Named USS Chesterfield County (LST-551), 1 July 1955
  • Recommissioned, 29 March 1963
  • During the Vietnam War USS Chesterfield County (LST-551) served continuously in country and in contiguous waters, with the exception of overhaul periods, from early 1966 to early 1967 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
    3 to 7 March1966
    10 to 13 May 1966
    11 to 30 June 1966
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    1 July to 22 August 1966
    6 to 13 and 30 to 31 October 1966
    1 to 15 December 1966
    23 December 1966 to 1 January 1967
    17 to 25 and 26 January 1967
  • Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register, 1 June 1970
  • USS LST-551 earned one battle star for World War II service and two campaign stars for Vietnam service as USS Chesterfield County (LST-551)
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping in February 1971 to Mitsui and Co., Japan
    1,625 t.(lt)
    4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
    2,366 t.
    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
    7 officers, 104 enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    16 officers, 131 enlisted
    Boats 5 LCVP, 1 LCPL
    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
    Chesterfield County 20k USS LST-551 moored pierside, date and location unknown. LST Home Port web site
    Chesterfield County 77k USS LST-551 beached on a ramp at Civitivecchia, Italy while loading RAF equipment in July 1944, bound for Corsica. Gordon Rae for his father Roy Rae RAF 111th Squadron, 324 Wing)
    Chesterfield County 49k
    Chesterfield County 122k
    LST-1012 122k USS LST 551 (left) and USS LST-1012 (right) beached on a ramp at Civitivecchia, Italy while loading RAF equipment in July 1944 bound for Corsica. Gordon Rae for his father Roy Rae RAF 111th Squadron, 324 Wing)
    LST-1012 89k
    Chesterfield County 126k USS LST-551 beached at Corsica while unloading RAF equipment, date unknown. Gordon Rae for his father Roy Rae RAF 111th Squadron, 324 Wing)
    Chesterfield County 85k USS LST-551 beached, date and location unknown. Arthur Neal for his father Lacy Neal SC/3 USS LST-177
    Chesterfield County 14k USS LST-551 off loading vehicles across a pontoon causeway with LCT-566 beached to starboard during the invasion of southern France, August-September 1944. John De Noma
    Chesterfield County 1159k LSTs including USS LST-551 unloading on a ramp in France, circa September 1945. Note USS LCI(M)-594 on the ramp in the background.
    USAAF 23rd Photographic Squadron
    Wolfgang Hechler
    Chesterfield County 158k USS LST-551 beached at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, VA. as members of the Armys' 73rd Tank Battalion train in preparation for Portrex, joint armed forces amphibious-airborne exercises which took place in the Caribbean in early March 1950.
    AP Wirephoto
    Ron Reeves
    Chesterfield County 76k USS Chesterfield County (LST-551) moored pierside, date and location unknown. © Richard Leonhardt

    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Kimmel, S., USNR17 April 1944 - August 1945
    02LT. Holton Jr., J. M., USNRAugust 1945 - December 1945
    03LT. McAuley Jr., John Joseph, USNDecember 1945 - 1946
    04LTjg. Curtice, William Hale, USN1946 - ?
    05LT. Cornetta, Martin Vincent1954 - 10 June 1955
     Decommissioned10 June 1955 - 29 March 1963
    06LT. Beaube, James David, USN29 March 1963 - 6 January 1966
    07LT. Clement, Frank John, USN (USNA 1958)6 January 1966 - ?
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

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

    For more photos and information about USS Chesterfield County see;
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
  • Change of Command Program, 6 January 1966 contributed by R.D. Wall
  • The USS LST Ship Memorial
  • Mobile Riverine Force Association
  • History of USS Chesterfield County (LST-551) - Mobile Riverine Force Association
  • LST Home Port
  • State LST Chapters
  • United States LST Association

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    Last Updated 8 February 2019