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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Meeker County (LST-980)
USS LST-980 (1944 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Kilo - Xray - Tango
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (4-Vietnam) [02MAR68, 23MAY68, 14OCT68, 28JUN70] - Navy Unit Commendation
Second Row - Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation - American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-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 (10) - Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry) (8) - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

542-Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 9 December 1943, at Boston Navy Yard, Boston, MA.
  • Launched, 27 January 1944
  • Commissioned USS LST 980, 26 February 1944, LT. William F. Westfall USN, in command
  • USS LST-980 loaded LCT-654 onto her deck, 6 April 1944, at Norfolk, VA. unloaded LCT-654 at Plymouth (Jennycliff), England, 8 May 1944
  • During World War II USS LST-980 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 Normandy, 6 to 25 June 1944

  • USS LST-980 was assigned to Occupation service in Europe from 19 May to 19 September 1949
  • Named USS Meeker County (LST-980), 1 July 1955
  • Decommissioned, 16 December 1955, at Green Cove Springs, FL.
  • Laid up in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Florida Group, Green Cove Springs
  • Transferred to Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Philadelphia, PA. in October 1961
  • Recommissioned, 23 September 1966, at Baltimore, MD.
  • During the Vietnam War USS Meeker County (LST-980) served continuously in country and in contiguous waters, with the exception of overhaul periods, from 1967 to 1970 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
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    22 April to 31 May 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    13 to 19 December 1968
    11 to 21 January 1969
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    1 to 2 June 1967
    2 to 29 September 1967
    22 to 24 October 1967
    11 to 14 November 1967
    25 November to 5 December 1967
    Tet 69/ Counteroffensive
    28 March to 21 April 1969
    Tet Counteroffensive
    21 February to 1 April 1968
    Vietnam Winter-Spring 1970
    27 to 30 January 1970
    19 to 22 February 1970
    14 to 19 March 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase IV
    2 April to 12 May 1968
    Sanctuary Counteroffensive
    24 to 30 June 1970
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    30 July to 19 August 1968
    30 August to 24 October 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII
    1 to 24 July 1970

  • Decommissioned, December 1970 at Bremerton, WA.
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 April 1975
  • USS LST-980 earned one battle star for World War II service and as USS Meeker County (LST-980) earned ten campaign stars for Vietnam War service
  • Sold for scrapping by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS), 1 December 1975
  • Sold to Max Rouse & Sons, Beverly Hills, California, taken in hand by Marine Industries, Tacoma, WA. and converted for commercial use
  • Sold in 1976 to Landing System Technology Pte. Ltd., Singapore (Lauritz Kloster, Norway) and renamed MV LST 3
  • Arrived at Piraeus, Greece having been acquired by Maritime & Commercial Co. Argonaftis S.A., Panama (Greek flag), 30 June 1978 and renamed Petrola 143
  • Final Disposition, arrived in tow at Aliaga, Turkey for demolition by Seltas A.S., 7 August 1996
    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
    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-980
    Meeker County 85k USS LST-980 unloads an LVT during "Exercise Camid III", for an "assault" on Bloodsworth Island in the Chesapeake Bay.
    US Navy photo # USN-705980 released 20 August 1948.
    James D. Bass Jr.
    Meeker County 789k USS LST-980 passing YMP-2 as she enters Chesapeake Bay in 1953. Derick S. Hartshorn
    Meeker County
    263k USS LST-980 underway, circa 1950s, location unknown.
    NH 84878, Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 84878, courtesy of William H. Davis, 1976
    Mike Smolinski
    USS Meeker County (LST-980)
    Meeker County 92k USS Meeker County (LST-980) underway, date and location unknown. Dan Wilderman via Bob Flaugher
    LST-525 117k USS Meeker County (LST-980) moored inboard of USS Caroline County (LST-525) at Naval Station Guam in 1968. Photo by Larry Roszkowiak
    Meeker County 52k USS Meeker County (LST-980) at anchor in the harbor at Hong Kong, BCC, 23 August 1968. Photo by Walter F. Loetell Jr., ETR-2 USS Sumner County, 1966 to 1968
    Meeker County 271k USS Meeker County (LST-980) loading US Army 5th Calvary Division vehicles for trip to Chu Viet, South Vietnam, location unknown, circa 1967-68.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1968.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Meeker County 71k USS Meeker County (LST-980) arriving at Chu Viet, South Vietnam to off-load US Army 5th Calvary Division vehicles, circa 1967-68.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1968.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Meeker County 186k USS Meeker County (LST-980) off-loading US Army 5th Calvary Division vehicles at Chu Viet, South Vietnam, circa 1967-68.
    US Navy photo from "All Hands" magazine, July 1968.
    Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    Meeker County 123k
    Meeker County 50k USS Meeker County (LST-980) at the LST ramp on the Cua Viet River, South Vietnam, 1969. Photo by Joe Criscione
    Meeker County
    263k USS Meeker County (LST-980) underway in San Diego, CA. harbor, 06 September 1970.
    NH 84878, Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 84879, courtesy of William H. Davis, 1976
    Mike Smolinski

    USS Meeker County (LST-980)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    History of USS Meeker County (LST-980) - Mobile Riverine Force Association
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Westfall, William Fielding, USN26 February 1944 - 4 April 1945
    02LT. Newhard, Walter George, USN4 April 1945 - 7 February 1947
    03LT. Costello, Thomas Lowerre, USN7 February 1947 - 30 April 1947
    04LTjg. Stewart, Fred Lawrence, USN30 April 1947 - 9 June 1947
    05LT. Erickson, Robert James Floyd, USN9 June1947 - 7 April 1950
    06LCDR. Sanders, Russell Lawrence, USN7 April 1950 - 8 May 1951
    07LT. Bryan, John D., USNR8 May 1951 - 8 May 1952
    08LT. Owens, Joseph F., USNR8 Mau 1952 - 2 Jamury 1953
    09LT. Greene Jr., Oscar, USNR2 January 1953 - 29 August 1953
    10LT. Buechler, Robert George, USN (USNA 1948-B)29 August 1953 - 19 August 1954
    11LT. Tisdale, Robert Street, USN (USNA 1946)19 August 1954 - 16 December 1955
     Decommissioned16 December 1955 - 23 September 1966
    12LCDR. Clark, Frank Elwood, USN23 September 1966 - 5 July 1968
    13LCDR. Neuman, Dennis Earl, USN5 July 1968- Ocotober 1969
    14LCDR. Van Slyke Jr., James Corbett, USNOctober 1969 - December 1970
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler

    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
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 25 September 2020