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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Contributed by Mike Smolinski

Contributed by Al Grazevich

USS Kemper County (LST-854)
USS LST-854 (1944 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - India - Mike - Papa
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon - Navy Unit Commendation
Second Row - China Service Medal (extended) - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (1)
Third Row - World War II Victory Medal - Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Asia clasp) - National Defense Service Medal (2)
Fourth Row - Korean Service Medal (5) - Vietnam Service Medal (5) - Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (5)
Fifth Row - United Nations Service Medal - Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal - Republic of Korea War Service Medal (retroactive)

USS Kemper County (LST-854) was first transferred to Barbados, renamed Northpoint and them to Panama, renamed El Gato Blanco
542-Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 30 August 1944, at Chicago Bridge and Iron Co., Seneca, IL.
  • Launched, 20 November 1944
  • Commissioned, USS LST-854, 14 December 1944, ENS. Edward J. Robeson III USN, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-854 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater:
    LST Flotilla Thirty-One, CAPT. H. S. Covington USN (22);
    LST Group Ninety-One, CDR. Jesse Hogan Motes Jr. USN (31);
    LST Division One Hundred Eighty-One and participated in the following campaign:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
    Campaign and Dates
    Okinawa Gunto operation
    Assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto, from 18 April to 30 June 1945

  • Following World War II USS LST-854 was assigned to Occupation and China service in the Far East for the following periods:

    Navy Occupation Service Medal

    China Service Medal (extended)
    9 to 25 September 194524 February to 11 April 1947
    14 to 21 February 19478 to 25 May 1947
     26 August 1947 to 3 January 1948
     1 April to 4 March 1949

  • Decommissioned, 21 October 1949
  • Laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, Puget Sound Group, Bremerton, WA.
  • Recommissioned, 20 November 1950, at Bremerton, WA
  • During the Korean War USS LST-854 participated in the following campaigns:

    Korean War Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates
    Communist China Spring Offensive
    12 to 21 June 1951
    Third Korean Winter
    22 December 1952 to 24 January 1953
    14 to 16 April 1953
    UN Summer-Fall Offensive
    9 September 1951
    7 to 23 October 1951
    Korea, Summer-Fall 1953
    30 May to 10 June 1953
    15 to 17 June 1953
    13 to 21 July 1953
    26 to 27 July 1953
    Second Korean Winter
    1 to 22 December 1951
    11 to 29 January 1952

  • Named USS Kemper County (LST-854), 1 July 1955
  • During the Vietnam War USS Kemper County (LST-854) participated in the following campaigns:

    Vietnam War Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates
    Vietnam Defense
    21 November to 24 December 1965
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III
    1 to 23 June 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive
    25 December 1965 to 6 January 1966
    21 January to 8 March 1966
    21 March to 2 April 1955
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase V
    23 July to 27 August 1968
    17 September to 1 November 1968
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II
    25 February to 18 March 1967
    12 April to 31 May 1967
    Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VI
    2 to 10 November 1968
    8 to 14 December 1968

  • Decommissioned, 28 May 1969
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • USS Kemper County earned one battle star for World War II service, five battle stars for Korean War service, and one award of the Navy Unit Commendation and six campaign stars Vietnam War service
  • Transferred to the Government of Barbados in July 1975, renamed Northpoint
  • Sold to the Government of Panama, circa early-1980's, renamed El Gato Blanco
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    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-854
    LST-172 92k USS LST-854 and USS LST-172 moored to a buoy at Shanghai, China, circa April 1946. George Curry GM2/c USS LST-172
    Kemper County 43k USS LST-854, at NSO dock, NAVSTA Subic Bay PI, 11 March 1949 LST Home Port web site
    Kemper County 4k USS LST-854, circa 1951, at Bremerton WA. LST Home Port web site
    Kemper County 13k USS LST-854, circa 1952, at Taeyonpyong, North Korea LST Home Port web site
    USS Kemper County (LST-854)
    Kemper County 97k USS Kemper County (LST-854) at anchor, probably at Hong Kong, BCC, date unknown. © Richard Leonhardt
    Kemper County 58k USS Kemper County (LST-854) under way, date and location unknown. Lloyd King
    Kemper County
    311k USS Kemper County (LST-854) under way, in December 1963, location unknown.
    ./iUS Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # L45-155.01.01
    Mike Smolinski
    Kemper County 58k USS Kemper County (LST-854) at anchor of Naval Support Activity Detachment Vung Tau, South Vietnam, circa 1967. Note the Australian Army vehicles on the barge in the foreground. Dave Perham

    USS Kemper County (LST-854)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01ENS. Robeson III, Edward John, USN (USNA 1945)14 December 1944 - February 1946
    02LTjg. Peterson Jr., Frank A., USNRFebruary 1946 - June1946
    03LTjg. Wortley, Edmund Lawrence, USNJune 1946 - 1947
    04LTjg. Saunders, Charles Merrill, USN1947 - January 1948
    05LT, Stanley, Harry Cutter, USNJanuary 1948 - July 1949
     Decommissioned21 October 1949 - 20 November 1950
    06LCDR. Bailey, John David, USNMay 1956 - August 1957
    07LT. Maggay Jr., Isidoro, USN1960 - 6 October 1962
    08LT. Mack, John, USN6 October 1962 - 8 July 1964
    09LT. Coolbaugh, James Dixon (Jesse), USN8 July 1964 - 2 June 1965
    10LT. Stockton, Cecil Gene, USN 2 June 1965 - 16 December 1967
    11LT. Campbell, David Russell, USN16 December 1967 - 28 May 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
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 24 December 2020