USS Montgomery County (LST-1041)
The USS Montgomery County (LST-1041) was an LST-542 Class tank landing ship built in 1944 that saw service in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was designated the USS Montgomery County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in eighteen U.S. states, including Arkansas.
LST-1041 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when carrying a 500-ton load, LST-1041 drew only three feet eleven inches forward and nine feet ten inches aft. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they had to debark their cargos from deeper water, but they were capable of dropping their forward ramps directly onto a beach.
LST-1041’s keel was laid down on November 12, 1944, by the Dravo Corporation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and it was launched on January 20, 1945. LST-1041 weighed 1,625 tons, was 328 feet long and 50 feet wide, and could reach speeds of 11.6 knots. It carried a crew of thirteen officers and 104 men, and could transport sixteen officers and 147 soldiers. LST-1041 was armed with two twin 40mm guns, four single 40mm guns, and twelve single 20mm guns. The vessel was ferried down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, Louisiana, and commissioned on February 19, 1945, under the command of Lieutenant Edward F. Becker.
LST-1041 had its shakedown cruise (a test of the ship’s performance) in the Gulf of Mexico and sailed for the Pacific in early April 1945, arriving at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands on June 5. After carrying cargo to U.S. bases in the mid- and western Pacific, it joined LST Group 97 and carried supplies to Okinawa in mid-July. Following Japan’s capitulation, LST 1041 supported occupation troops on the Japanese mainland until sailing to Norfolk, Virginia, arriving there on December 6, 1945.
For the next ten years, LST-1041 was a workhorse, participating in fleet exercises, amphibious training, logistical operations, and supply runs along the East Coast and in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It executed supply and logistical tasks off Greenland and in Baffin Bay and, from September to November 1953, helped salvage the SS Atlantic Waters, a merchant vessel that was grounded off Goose Bay, Labrador. Between September 1954 and January 1955, LST-1041 operated with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean before returning to Norfolk for training duty in February. It was designated the USS Montgomery County on July 1, 1955, and served with the Atlantic Fleet until January 31, 1956, when it was decommissioned and sent to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Green Cove Springs, Florida.
The USS Montgomery County was struck from the navy list on June 1, 1960, and sold to West Germany under the Military Assistance Program in August 1961. The Germans initially planned to convert the Montgomery County into a battle damage repair ship but instead scrapped it in 1968 without commissioning the vessel into their navy.
For additional information:
“LST 1041 Montgomery County.” https://www.hazegray.org/danfs/amphib/lst1041.txt (accessed June 13, 2018).
Rottman, Gordon L. Landing Ship, Tank (LST) 1942–2002. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Co., 2005.
“USS Montgomery County (LST-1041).” NavSource Online. http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/16/161041.htm (accessed June 13, 2018).
Mark K. Christ
Little Rock, Arkansas
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