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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Coconino County (LST-603)
USS LST-603 (1944 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Foxtrot - Bravo - Kilo
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (3)
Second Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (2) - American Campaign Medal - European-African- Middle East Campaign Medal (1)
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Europe clasp) - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Fourth Row - Vietnam Service Medal (7) - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (3) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

USS Coconino County (LST-603) was transferred to the South Vietnamese Navy, renamed RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503)
LST-542 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 5 November 1943, at Chicago Bridge and Iron Works, Seneca, IL.
  • Launched, 14 March 1944
  • Commissioned USS LST-603, 5 April 1944, at New Orleans, LA., LT. William B. Sweet, USN, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-603 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, 15 August to 23 September 1944

  • Following World War II USS LST-603 performed duties with the Amphibious Force, US Atlantic Fleet, including one deployment to the Mediterranean in 1950 in which she earned the Navy Occupation Service Medal for the period 20 May to 16 August 1950
  • Decommissioned, 12 May 1955
  • Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
  • Renamed USS Coconino County (LST-603), 1 July 1955
  • Recommissioned, 8 June 1966 at New York Ship Building, Camden, N. J.
  • During the Vietnam War USS Coconino County (LST-603) served continuously in country and in contiguous waters, with the exception of overhaul periods, from late 1966 to early 1969 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
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    14 December 1966 to 11 January 1967
    9 April to 10 May 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    21 August to 11 October 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    2 June to 8 July 1967
    17 December 1967 to 1 January 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    9 November to 8 December 1968
    17 to 22 February 1969
    Tet Counteroffensive
    17 March to 1 April 1968
    Tet/69 Counteroffensive
    23 February to 20 March 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV
    2 April to 3 June 1968

  • Decommissioned and transferred to South Vietnam, 4 April 1969 at Guam, Renamed RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503)
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS Coconino County earned one battle star for World War II service as LST-603, and seven campaign stars and two awards of the Meritorious Unit Commendation for Vietnam War service
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    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 Source
    USS LST-603
    LST-601/602/603 77k USS LST 601 (foreground), USS LST-602 (center) and USS LST-603 (background), at Naval Amphibious Base, Norfolk, VA., 10 May 1944 The Library of Virginia
    US Army Signal Corps
    Photograph Collection
    LST-603 108k USS LST-603 under way in convoy in May 1944 from Norfolk, VA. to Oran, Algeria, with LCT-1019 loaded on her main deck. Photo by Harold S. Deal, PhM1c, USN, USS Liddle (DE-206)
    Submitted by Jeffery D. Deal to honor his grandfather Harold S. Deal and
    Russ Padden
    LST-603 49k
    LST-603 139k USS LST-603 probably at Bagnoli harbor in the Formio area of Italy, circa late July 1944.
    US Navy photo
    Thomas Cichowski
    LST-603 156k
    LST-74 1385k USS LST-603, USS LST-74 and USS LST-141 load soldiers of the US 3rd Infantry Division at Bagnoli harbor, in the Formio area of Italy, 31st July, 1944, during an embarkation exercise prior to Operation 'Dragoon' the Invasion of Southern France.
    US National Archives photo # 192699, Box 222, a US Army Signal Corps photo by Leibowitz, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr and Robert Hurst
    LST-603 64k USS LST-603 at anchor in the Bay of Naples. Note: Mt. Vesuvius in the background, 10 August 1944. Robert Rutter, photo by his grandfather CAPT. Anthony Kohout Jr. ex CO USS LST-77
    LST-603 112k USS LST-603 beached, and unloading equipment, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, December 1947 issue.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.
    USS Coconino County (LST-603)
    LST-603 19k USS Coconino County (LST-603), circa 1967, prior to being mined in South Vietnamese waters. Scott Burrow
    USS Coconino County
    LST 603 Association
    LST-603 197k Lookout stands watch on the sand-bagged bridge while USS Coconino County (LST-603) operates in South China Sea in February 1967.
    US National Archives Photo # USN 1142211 US Navy photo by JOC R. D. Moeser, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    LST-603 174k The deck of USS Coconino County (LST-603) is the scene of an Ontos tank briefing in preparation for Operation Deckhouse V, 4 January 1967.
    US National Archives Photo # K-35611, a US Navy photo by PH1 V.O. McColley, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    LST-603 124k USS Coconino County (LST-603) silhouetted with a helicopter on deck in the Mekong Delta during landing operations at "White Beach" at the mouth of the Song Co Chien River, South Vietnam during Operation Deckhouse V, 6 January 1967.
    US National Archives Photo # K-35546 a US Navy photo by PH1 W.M. Nash III, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    LST-604 179k USS Coconino County (LST-603) in The South China Sea as an LVTH6A1 amphibious tractor mounting a 105mm, howitzer moves shoreward during Operation Deckhouse V, January 1967.
    US National Archives Photo # 1142237 a US Navy photo by JOC R. D. Moeser, now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    LST-603 66k USS Coconino County (LST-603) at Cua Viet, Vietnam, 29 August 1968. Photo by Walter F. Loetell Jr. ETR-2, USS Sumner County (LST-1148), 1966--68
    RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503)
    LST-603 50k Ex-USS Coconino County (LST-603) under way while in South Vietnamese Naval service as RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503)  
    LST-603 71k RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503) underway, date and location unknown Tommy Trampp and Paulo Soukup

    USS LST-603 / USS Coconino County (LST-603)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    History of USS Coconino County (LST-603) - Mobile Riverine Force Association
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Sweet, William Branch, USN5 April 1944 - 8 September 1945
    03LT. Kemmerer, Ralph Herbert USNR8 September 1945 - 6 November 1945
    04LT. Raymond Jr., Henry Hugh, USN6 November 1945 - 24 February 1950
    05LT. Cantwell Jr., Richard Andrew USN24 February 1950 - 23 August 1951
    04LT. McNeill, Joseph Edwin, USN23 August 1951 - 26 March 1953
    06LT. Kisak, Vladmir, USN26 March 1953 - 6 August 1954
    06LT. Adams, Daniel Breck, USN (USNA 1947)6 August 1954 - 12 May 1955
     Decommissioned12 May 1955 - 8 June 1966
    07LT. Dugan Jr., Timothy Parks USN (USNA 1961)8 June 1966 - 27 July 1968
    08LT. Turner Jr., Steven Lloyd, USN27 July 1968 - 4 April 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
    Recommissioning Program
    Change of Command Program - 27 July 1968
    Brownwater Navy in Vietnam Web Book
    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 Novembr 2018