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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive


Contributed by Mike Smolinski

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


International Radio Call Sign:
November - Foxtrot - Bravo - Kilo
NFBK
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., ENS. William B. Sweet 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
  • Renamed USS Coconino County (LST-603), 1 July 1955
  • Recommissioned, 8 June 1966 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard
  • During the Vietnam War USS Coconino County participated in the following campaigns:
    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, Renamed RVNS Vung Tau (HQ-503)
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
  • USS Coconino County received 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 service
    Specifications: (as reported by Office of Naval Intelligence-1945)
    Displacement 1,625 t.(lt), 4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
    Length 328' o.a.
    Beam 50'
    Draft
    (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)
    Speed 12 kts. (maximum)
    Endurance 24,000 miles @ 9kts. while displacing 3960 tons
    Complement
    9 officers, 120 enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    14 officers, 131 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
    Propulsion two General Motors 12-567, 900hp diesel engines, two shafts, 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 underway 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
    LST-603 49k USS LST-603 underway in May 1944 bound for Oran with LCT-1019 loaded on her main deck. Russ Padden
    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 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) underway 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)
    DANFS history entry located at the US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Commanding Officers
    01ENS. Sweet, William B.6 April 1944 - ?
    02LT. Cantwell Jr., Richard Andrewno dates
     Decommissioned12 May 1955 - 8 June 1966
    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
    History of The USS Coconino County (LST-603)
    Mobile Riverine Force Association
    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
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 9 November 2012