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The USS Monmouth County: “Ever Ready – War and Peace”

On June 9, 1944, the USS Monmouth County (LST-1032) was launched, the only U.S. Naval vessel ever to bear that name. She was an LST-542-class tank landing ship that measured 328 feet in length with a 50-foot beam and 1625-ton displacement, carrying 130 officers and enlisted crew members.

The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Jennie M. Kneeland of Massachusetts. She was selected for the honor because her husband, R.P. Kneeland, was a master mechanic at the Navy Yard and their department had won a commendation for safety. 

The USS Monmouth County was commissioned on August 1, 1944, with Lieutenant J. M. Medina in command. The ship’s motto was “Ever Ready – War and Peace.”

The ship first saw action in the assault on Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater in World War II. On February 20, while debarking Marines there, an enemy shell struck her bow, killing one Marine and wounding nine. Despite this, rough seas, and stiff Japanese opposition, she completed debarking her troops and supplies on the 22nd.  She would go on to take part in the invasions of Saipan and Okinawa.

Until Japan’s surrender, she ferried troops and munitions among The Philippines, and then carried occupation troops to the Japanese home islands until November 19, when she sailed for San Francisco, arriving December 30. LST‑1032 then joined the Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with which she operated for the next nine years. She joined expeditions to Greenland in 1951 and 1952 and took part in training exercises in the Caribbean.

She transferred to the Philadelphia Group in August 1961 and recommissioned May 28,1963, as a unit of Reserve LST Squadron 2, based at Little Creek, Virginia. She was placed into full commission on December 21, 1965, participating in the Dominican Civil War, and in 1966 served in the Vietnam War.

Assigned to the Service Force, Pacific Fleet, she operated between the Demilitarized Zone and the Mekong Delta, carrying foodstuffs, ammunition, and construction equipment. Following a visit to the Republic of China in February 1967, she returned to Vietnamese waters for three additional tours between 1968 and March 1970. Decommissioned at Vallejo, California, and struck from the Navy list on August 12, 1970, the ex-LST was sold for scrap in 1971. LST‑1032 received four battle stars for World War II service.

Source: USS Monmouth County. (2007). Hullnumber.com, August 7, 2007. Available: https://www.hullnumber.com/LST-1032.

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