USS Tom Green County - History

Tom Green County
(LST-1159: dp. 2,590; 1.384' b. 66'; dr. 17', cpl. 116;
s.16k.;a.63";ci. LST-1156)

Tom Green County (LST-1165) was laid down as LST-1159 on 2 September 1952 at Bath, Maine, by the Bath Iron Works, launched on 2 July 1953, sponsored by Mrs. R. T. Cowdrey, and commissioned on 12 September 1963, Lt. Comdr. Stephen J. Nemeth in command.

Initially attached to Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet, LST-1159 conducted shakedown in Guantanamo Bay and the Caribbean before commencing local operations out of Norfolk and Little Creek, Va. She departed Norfolk on 24 February 1964 for duty with Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, and, after a transit of the Panama Canal, reached the west coast on 20 March. The tank landing ship operated out of her new home port, San Diego, until 20 September, including calls at San Francisco and San Pedro, Calif., and Esquimalt, British Columbia, in her itinerary.

En route to the Far East, LST-1159 stopped briefly at Pearl Harbor before proceeding on toward Japan. While on the voyage across the Pacific, the ship was diverted to join Task Force (TF) 98 in Southeast Asian waters and arrived at Henriette Pass, near the port of Elaiphong, French Indochina, on 29 October. Taking part in Operation "Passage to Freedom," LST1159 transported refugees from the northern part of what became a divided Vietnam, to the southern ports of Tourane (Danang) and Saigon. On 29 November 1964, her job in the massive humanitarian effort completed, the tank landing ship proceeded toward her original destination.

LST-1159 proceeded via Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, and Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, on 22 December. The tank landing ship paid calls on the Japanese ports of Moji, Sasebo, and Kobe before a deteriorating international situation resulted in the ship's call to duty with TF 76 at Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 3 February 1966. She sortied from Okinawa soon thereafter and took part in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands from 8 to 13 February, moving 2,144 civilians, 1,100 troops, 600 tons of ammunition, and 37 vehicles to Formosa in two round trips. Soon after completing these operations, LST-1159 was named Tom Green County.

Returning via Sasebo, Japan, and Inchon, Korea, to the United States, Tom Green County made port at San Diego on 2 April to begin a period of local operations out of that port. On 14 October, the tank landing ship entered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, Calif., for a four-month yard period which lasted until February of 1966.

Moving back to San Diego following the overhaul, Tom Green County departed the west coast for her second Far East deployment on 24 April and arrived at Pearl Harbor on 4 May. Underway on 7 May, the ship made port at Yokosuka on the 24th and operated in the Far East for the remainder of 1966, touching at her normal ports of call, such as Sasebo, Iwakuni, Nagasaki, and Yokosuka, Japan; Buckner Bay and Naha Okinawa; as well as Hong Kong and Iwo Jima, before returning to Yokosuka on 22 November.

On 23 January 1967, the tank landing ship departed Japanese waters for Hawaii and reached Pearl Harbor on 9 February. Tom Green County conducted local operations between the Hawaiian Islands and the west coast for the remainder of the year, with calls at San Diego Monterey, Oakland, San Francisco, and Camp Pendleton, before she headed for Pearl Harbor.

Deployed again to the Far East, Tom Green County made port at Yokosuka on 4 July 1968 to commence amphibious support exercises and training cruises to familiar places: Buckner Bay, Naha, Subic Bay, and a new port on the itinerary, the Nationalist Chinese base at Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She remained engaged in these activities through the fall of 1968, before returning, via Pearl Harbor, to San Diego to round out the year. Local operations between the west coast and Pearl Harbor occupied the ship through 1969.

In July 1960, new orders dictated the tank landing ship's change of home port from San Diego to Yokosuka and assigned Tom Green County as flagship of Landing Ship Division 92. She continued her operations much as before, but maintenance work was now conducted in Japanese yards, obviating returns to United States for overhauls. Local operations, interspersed yard periods, and training exercises kept the tank landing ship engaged through 1962.

Following the ship's participation in Operations "Tulungan" (9 March to 9 April 1962) and "Lone Eagle" (14 to 23 October), at Subic Bay and Okinawa, respectively, Tom Green County went on alert as events half-way around the world threatened peace. The presence of Russian IRBM's in Cuba brought on a head-to-head confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. Ready for any eventuality, the Navy prepared itself, world-wide. Tom Green County sailed for Naha on the 24th of October, moored at the LST ramp and took on board marines and their equipment. After the crisis passed, the ship returned to her normal operating schedule, making for Iwakuni on the 27th to offload, before proceeding to Yokosuka.

Upkeep from 2 to 25 November at Yokosuka preceded the ship's type-training exercises through 29 November. Tom Green County paid a port visit at Beppu, Japan, from 1 to 3 December before returning to her home port on the 7th. Underway three days later, the ship made for Numazu, Japan, to load marines and material for transport to Okinawa and arrived on the 16th. The tank landing ship off-loaded, headed for Japanese waters and arrived at Yokosuka on 19 December before getting underway again on Christmas Eve for Tokyo. Tom Green County departed the Japanese capital city on the 28th and returned to Yokosuka, where she spent the remainder of the year in upkeep status.

The following year saw more of the same activities in store for the tank landing ship. Port visits to Tsoying Taiwan (12 to 14 March 1963) Hong Kong (16 to 22 March); Osaka, Japan (8 to i6 April), and Taipei, were interspersed with local operations out of Yokosuka. Tom Green County participated in Operations "Flagpole" (16 to 28 June) and "Bayonet Beach" (31 August to 9 September) along the eastern coast of South Korea, transporting embarked marines and vehicles to landing beaches and putting them ashore. Following her return to Japanese home waters with a visit to Kagoshima from 9 to 15 November, the ship proceeded to Sasebo for three weeks of upkeep. Conducting type training in Buckner Bay, she on-loaded marines for transport to Numazu and subsequently arrived home at Yokosuka on 20 December.

As the situation in Southeast Asia worsened, the United States began to take a more active part in the Vietnam conflict. Operation "Jungle Drum," towards the end of 1965, landed marines in southern Thailand. With increasing American commitments in Vietnam, Tom Green County participated in Operations "Piranha" and "Double Eagle" in January and February of 1966. The latter was the first large-scale amphibious landing under combat conditions since Inchon. In June 1966, the tank landing ship came under the operational and administrative command of Landing Ship Squadron 9; and, in November, the ship commenced support commitments for the Vietnam Coastal Surveillance Force engaged in monitoring and interdicting offshore small craft traffic, TF 115.

The year 1967 found the ship participating in further combat operations: "Beacon Torch," "Beaver Track," "Bear Chain," and "Kangaroo Kick." As an element of Amphibious Ready Group Bravo (TG 76.6)

Tom Green County received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for these operations conducted between 18 June and 4 August 1967. During this deployment in Southeast Asia, the ship also underwent a yard overhaul at Yokosuka from 16 August to 17 November before she returned to Vietnamese waters.

On 22 March 1968, Tom Green County arrived in the Mekong Delta region to commence a deployment as support LST for the Riverine Assault Force. On 16 April, Viet Cong insurgents attacked the ship with recoillessrifle and automatic weapons fire. Tom Green County shuddered under the impact of nine hits taken in quick succession. Following repairs of her battle damage, the tank landing ship resumed operations with Amphibious Ready Group Alpha (TG 76.4) and participated in Operation "Swift Pursuit," before returning to the Mekong in December to commence resupply duties for TG 117.2—Mobile Riverine Group Bravo. While en route on 28 December, Tom Green County came under rocket fire from Viet Cong gunners and took seven hits on her port side.

Repairing the damage and continuing her assigned missions, she conducted her operations in the Bassac River near Can Tho. On 21 January 1969, while beached at Vung Tau and loading supplies for a routine convoy run, the ship again came under fire as Viet Cong launched a rocket barrage directed at the loading ramp and the adjacent airstrip. One rocket (122 millimeter) impacted on the fantail and exploded in the mess decks of Tom Green County, inflicting heavy material damage and wounding several men in the after part of the ship.

Retracting and anchoring at Vung Tau Bay, Tom Green County effected temporary repairs before being relieved by Whitfield County (LST-1169) to sail for Yokosuka and permanent repairs. En route to Japanese waters, the ship's company arrived at a novel method of preparing and consuming their meals, as the regular galley and messing facilities had been rendered useless by the battle damage. Besides subsisting on makeshift rations the crew "char-broiled" steaks on jury-rigged "grills' fashioned from empty 66-gallon oil drums. Steak-grilling continued unabated through even inclement weather-in which case the whole "steak-grilling" operation was moved to the tank deck.

On 2 February, the ship made port at Yokosuka, to commence a long repair period, after which she conducted support operations for an assault boat school at Numazu while undertaking independent steaming exercises. Sudden troop deployments in Vietnam resulted in a recall to Southeast Asian waters, and Tom Green County accordingly sailed for Vung Tau on 23 June. En route, the ship trained in riverine warfare tactics.

Tom Green County relieved Whitfield County on 4 July 1969 at My Tho, near Dong Tam, and spent the next six weeks supporting the operations of TF 117, as it prepared to "wrap up" its operations in the Mekong Delta region. While at My Tho and in the "Delta," the tank landing ship served as a floating supply base and a transient barracks ship for members of the Army 9th Division who were being processed for stateside duty. Tom Green County also gave the Viet Cong a dose of their own medicine-firing over 3,000 rounds of 3-inch/60-caliber counter-battery harassment and interdiction fire, while maintaining a vigilant watch for swimmer sappers who might attempt to mine the ship while she lay at anchor.

On 18 August, the day before the disestablishment of the Mobile Riverine Force, Tom Green County departed Vietnamese waters and steamed for Subic Bay arriving in the Philippines on the 23d of the month. Taking on provisions after arriving, the tank landing ship proceeded for Keelung, Taiwan, on the 23d, making port four days later. Underway for the Marianas on 2 September, the ship stopped briefly at Guam before pressing on with a Micronesian cruise, calling at Koror Babelthuap, and Yap, before returning to Guam and subsequent operations transporting men and material to Yokosuka.

On 26 October, with the ship's dependents on board Tom Green County cruised from Yokosuka to Tokyo unloading the dependents upon arrival and on-loading a 6-ton, 135-foot totem pole from Alaska, to transport it to the World's Fair-Expo '70—at Osaka. Operation "Totem Pole" proceeded to completion on 27 October when the ship docked at Kobe and unloaded her unusual cargo.

After a one-night liberty, Tom Green County joined Vernon County (LST 1161), Washoe County (LST1165), and Westchester County (LST-1167) in support of Operation "Keystone Lift" from Danang, where they made port on 5 November. Four and one-half hours later, the tank landing ship got underway for Kin Red, Okinawa, with elements of the 3d Battalion, 12th Marines, embarked; and arrived at her destination on the 11th, unloaded and disembarked the troops; and headed

back toward Yokosuka. En route, however, the ship was redirected to Danang for another lift, and she took on board a full cargo of railroad rolling stock. Her ship's historian nicknamed Tom Green County the "Ghost Ship of Danang" because of her nocturnal loading operation in which she arrived after dark and was gone before the dawn. On the night of the 25th, Tom Green County made port at Okinawa; unloaded in just one and one-half hours, and steamed for Yokosuka, her job completed. Four days later, on the afternoon of 29 November, the ship arrived at her home port in time to spend Thanksgiving of 1969 at "home."

Returning to the business of transporting marines soon thereafter, Tom Green County completed one round-trip haul from Okinawa to Numazu before making port at Yokosuka on 13 December for a year-end leave and upkeep period.

For the next two years, Tom Green County remained in the Far East serving as she had done since she was first homeported at Yokosuka. Late in 1971, she was ordered home to the United States and her home port changed to San Diego. The tank landing ship departed Japanese waters on 27 October and made port at Pearl Harbor on 12 November for a seven-day stay before beginning the last leg of her voyage to the west coast. Upon her arrival at San Diego on 28 November, she soon commenced preinactivation preparations, and, on 23 December, she cruised in San Diego harbor, commencing the training of the new Spanish crew slated to take over the ship. On 6 January 1972, Tom Green County was decommissioned and transferred to Spain. Renamed Conde de Venadito and designated L-13, she serves the Spanish Navy through 1979.

Tom Green County was awarded 12 engagement stare, two Navy Unit Commendations, and one Meritorious Unit Commendation for her Vietnam service.


This section lists the names and designations that the ship had during its lifetime. The list is in chronological order.

    LST-1156 Terrebonne Parish Class Tank Landing Ship
    Keel Laid September 2 1952 - Launched July 2 1953

Struck from Naval Register November 1 1976

Naval Covers

This section lists active links to the pages displaying covers associated with the ship. There should be a separate set of pages for each name of the ship (for example, Bushnell AG-32 / Sumner AGS-5 are different names for the same ship so there should be one set of pages for Bushnell and one set for Sumner). Covers should be presented in chronological order (or as best as can be determined).

Since a ship may have many covers, they may be split among many pages so it doesn't take forever for the pages to load. Each page link should be accompanied by a date range for covers on that page.


This section lists examples of the postmarks used by the ship. There should be a separate set of postmarks for each name and/or commissioning period. Within each set, the postmarks should be listed in order of their classification type. If more than one postmark has the same classification, then they should be further sorted by date of earliest known usage.

A postmark should not be included unless accompanied by a close-up image and/or an image of a cover showing that postmark. Date ranges MUST be based ONLY ON COVERS IN THE MUSEUM and are expected to change as more covers are added.
>>> If you have a better example for any of the postmarks, please feel free to replace the existing example.

Service in the Vietnam War

In early 1966, the Tom Green County served in two Operations: "Piranha" and "Double Eagle". The second involved amphibious landing under enemy fire. The Tom Green County continued to participate in combat operations, including "Operation Beacon Torch", "Operation Beaver Track", "Operation Bear Chain", and "Operation Kangaroo Kick". For her service during this period, she was given the Meritorious Unit Commendation. During a deployment in March 1968 in the Mekong Delta, the Tom Green County endured nine hits from enemy rifles. Later that year, she received seven hits from Viet Cong rocket launchers. In early 1969, the ship came under enemy assault once again, which caused significant damage and wounded several men. Following this, the Tom Green County returned to Yokosuka for a prolonged period of repairs.

In June of 1969, the ship returned to Vietnam. For the next five months she served as a supply base and transport. The Tom Green County returned home to the United States at the end of 1971. In 1972, her service to the United States ended and she was transferred to the Spanish Navy, where she served until 1989.


The very first mention of the USS Tom Green County in the Standard-Times was on March 25, 1953, when Capt. Charles C. (Chili) Kirkpatrick, a San Angelo native who grew up at 305 W. Concho Ave., was named as the new commanding officer of the USS Bremerton, a heavy cruiser.

For many years, the San Angelo Standard-Times followed the progress of the U.S.S. Tom Green County (LST-1159) on her missions in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

The article states that Kirkpatrick was a graduate of Annapolis (1931), and skippered the USS Triton (SS-201) submarine during World War II, earning the Navy Cross and other medals.

According to the article, one of the first duties Kirkpatrick performed upon taking his new post was to inform Lt. Richard Baker that he was being transferred to a landing ship tank named Tom Green County.

He charged Baker with the “responsibility of upholding the honor and tradition of the world’s finest county.”

The first mention of the USS Tom Green County appeared in the Standard-Times in March of 1953, before the ship was completed. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

The Tom Green County was one of many Terrebonne Parish-class tank landing ships constructed near the end of the Korean War and named for counties in the United States.

The ships were designed to unload tanks, jeeps and bombs right onto shorelines, where bigger boats with deeper drafts could not venture.

After the skipper of the USS Tom Green County wrote local officials to learn more about the history of its namesake, articles about the vessel regularly appeared in the newspaper until the boat was loaned permanently to the Spanish Navy in 1972. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

The keel for the “Ol’ Tom” was laid down on Sept. 2, 1952, at the Bath Iron Works in Maine, and she was put to sea on July 2, 1953, initially serving in the Atlantic Fleet. The ship was transferred to the Pacific Fleet in 1954.

Residents of Tom Green County were reminded of the existence of the “Tough Tom” in February 1961, when the ship had been in Naval service for almost a decade.

A Standard-Times editorial from Feb. 15 tells the story.

“Congratulations, county, you now own a battleship.

The crew of the USS Tom Green County (LST 1159) muster on deck during a christening ceremony in 1953. Most of the Terrebonne Parish-class ships in the US Navy were named for counties. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

“Well, maybe you don’t own it, and maybe it’s not a battleship, but somewhere roaming the vast Pacific is the pride of the fleet – LST 1159, the USS Tom Green County.

”County Clerk J. Ramon Jones first heard of the ship at Christmas when he received a card from Lt. Cmdr. W.F. Casper, commander of the Tom Green County.

“And Monday, Jones received a letter addressed to the “county clerk” asking for information about Tom Green County. “Strange as it may seem,” the letter said, “USS Tom Green County has no information on its namesake.”

After learning about restoration efforts at Fort Concho, officers and crew members of the USS Tom Green County sent a donation to the Fort's Museum Board to help with its efforts. (Photo: Matthew McDaniel / Standard-Times)

The article goes on to say that Casper had recently taken command of the boat, and was appealing to county officials to provide some biographical information on Gen. Tom Green (“I assume he is a famous Texan,” Casper wrote), and a copy of the county seal, which became part of the ship’s insignia.

The ship’s mailing address was published in case anyone wanted to drop a line to the crew.

There followed more than a decade of correspondence between the newspaper and the crew of the “Tough Tom.”

The following month, the Standard-Times reported contact between the ship’s crew and San Angelo students who had written about local history.

According to that article, the officers crew of the Tom Green County were interested to learn about restoration efforts at Fort Concho from the students at Washington Junior High School’s social studies class and took up a collection of $202, which was sent to the Fort’s Museum Board.

As the years rolled by, locals were always interested in hearing about the ship and following the exploits of the boat through the Vietnam era.

Stories about her service or accolades were dutifully reported, and some of her crew made trips to San Angelo to meet with local officials and tour the area.

The final chapter of the USS Tom Green County was published in June 1972, when the ship was transferred via loan to the Spanish Navy.

Admiral Joseph Williams Jr. handed the vessel over during a ceremony on Jan. 5 at San Diego Naval Station’s Pier 5, to Lt. Cmdr. Jesus Fontan Suanzez.

The ship was rechristened as the Conde del Vendito and was in service to the Spanish Navy through 1989.


Alus tilattiin Bath Iron Worksiltä Bathista Mainesta, missä köli laskettiin 2. syyskuuta 1952. Alus laskettiin vesille 2. heinäkuuta 1953 ja otettiin palvelukseen 12. syyskuuta 1953. [1]

Alus poistettiin palveluksesta 5. tammikuuta 1972 ja se poistettiin alusluettelosta 1. marraskuuta 1976. [1]

Alus luovutettiin 5. tammikuuta 1972 Espanjalle, joka liitti sen laivastoonsa nimellä Conde de Venadito (L13). [1] Alus poistettiin alusluettelosta vuonna 1990.

USS Tom Green County - History

Please contact Paul Spears Sr.
EMAIL: webmaster[ at ] and
Kent Hawley

Click Here to Contact the Webmaster If you know the fate of this vessel.

A small Escort Gunship LCS(L) . HQ 230 on the rivers near the Parrots Beak Area.

Photo Courtesy of Matty Veneziano
EMAIL: MV1949[ at ]

LCS 226 is one of eight 160 foot gunboats that were used in Vietnam for river and coastal escorts.
Some of them were turned over to South Vietnam.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Rielly
EMAIL: RobRielly[ at ]

Rob Rielly is the Archivist for the USS LCS(L) 1-130 Association.
Please send him any info you have on the HQ 225,226,227,228,229,230 or 231.

Photo Courtesy of Frederick J. McGavran
EMAIL: FMcGavran[ at ]

Photo Courtesy of Frederick J. McGavran
EMAIL: FMcGavran[ at ]


EMAIL: Howlett5[ at ]

IFS (former LSMR) USS Carronade firing rockets

USS Carronade firing rockets at Night

USS Carronade firing rockets

USS Carronade at Cam Ranh Bay

USS Carronade Rocket launcher

Stern of USS Carronade at Vung Tau

USS Carronade and Bernard Howlett at Danang.

A photo of a the USS Carronade Patch .
Patch Photo courtesy of Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: Howlett5[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536
Rocket ship

Photo Courtesy of William Geraghty
EMAIL: williamm[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536 Firing

Photo Courtesy of Larry Hunter via Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: LHunter536[ at ]

USS White River LSMR 536 Firing

Photo Courtesy of Larry Hunter via Bernard Howlett
EMAIL: LHunter536[ at ]

A photo of a the USS White River Patch .
Patch Photo courtesy of William Geraghty.
EMAIL: williamm[ at ]


EMAIL: samispoor[ at ]

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Unknown - Possibly a LCS(L) Gunboat

Possibly the Van Don [ HQ 06 ]

River Combat Economy Battleship
The Combat Ammi
As fast as the LCM pushing it.

USS Tom Green County - History

Raymond Joseph Krekelberg was born on September 24, 1947. According to our records Minnesota was his home or enlistment state and Ramsey County included within the archival record. We have St Paul listed as the city. He had enlisted in the United States Navy. Entered the service via Regular Military. Served during the Vietnam War. He began his tour on September 15, 1968. Krekelberg had the rank of Enlisted. His military occupation or specialty was Seaman. Service number assignment was B581996. Attached to Usnavforv, Tf 117, Uss Tom Green County Lst-1159. During his service in the Vietnam War, Navy enlisted man Krekelberg experienced a traumatic event which ultimately resulted in loss of life on January 21, 1969 . Recorded circumstances attributed to: Hostile Died of Wounds, Artillery Rocket Mortar, Ground Casualty. Incident location: South Vietnam, Bien Hoa province. Raymond is honored on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington DC. Name inscribed at VVM Wall, Panel 34w, Line 49.

USS Tom Green County - History

LST 1032 at the YRBM 20 in Chou Doc

LST 1032

The LST 1032 at the YRBM 20 near Chou Doc on the Bassac River near the Cambodian Border in 1970.


An ARL possibly the ARL30 USS Askari
Docked at the YRBM 20 at Chou doc
Photo Courtesy of Tom Lefavour

An ARL possibly the ARL30 USS Askari
Docked at the YRBM 20 at Chou doc
Photo Courtesy of Tom Lefavour

Photo Courtesy of Steve Crandall
EMAIL: crandalls46[ at ]

The Askari had a system where any number of Patrol Boats would come in for repairs and a team of Askari Repair Department Specially qualified inspectors would go down and conduct a thorough inspection of the boat and develop work orders to repair all of the problems discovered!
Even divers would go below and check out the screws, rudder and hull! If problems were found that might deter the boat from meeting its combat role or mission, then the boat[s] was hoisted with the ships 100 ton "A" frame crane and appropriate hull repairs were immediately made!

Gunderson Bros [Portland Oregon] built Assualt Patrol Boats ASPBs were powered by two 12V71 Detroit Diesel Engines which were a bear to overhaul! Most repair facilities could not do a proper job!
The Askari had a dual dynometer setup that allowed her to load these engines and test them for overhaul charactistics, thus earning her a name of having the "best" engines available for installation and/or engine change-out!
Even our injector repair shop was the only one in South Vietnam that could do a "spec" job and provide properly overhauled and balanced injectors for the engines they were to go in!

You have no idea what all we did during those days. There was no ship like the USS Askari ARL-30. No way. We broke the Sphinx upon entry into Brownwater country! The other ARL's did a good job too!

USS Westchester County LST 1167
Photo Courtesy of Bobby Freeman CWO
EMAIL: cwofreeman[ at ]

I do not have the exact date in 1968, but if you were to look at the events and dates in the Westchester Country Web Site, there is a lot of information regarding the two blasts that occurred! Some of the previously reported information is not very accurate [reported by the US Army]. These were two 250 lb. sachel charges set by underwater sappers!

In those days, we didn't call them bombings, but we called them "minings". In fact, I am having lunch with Cdr George Oncea USN Ret. [Ex-skipper of USS Askari ARL-30] on the 9th of November 2000. He was [and still is] a really great skipper and with a guy like him, the USS Cole incident would have never happened. Our defense for such occurrences was almost fool-proof and no underwater sapper or boat ever came within our Port or Starboard sides before we blew their hulls away!

Anyway, the minings on the USS Westchester County occurred at 0335 hrs when I was heading up to the bridge of the USS Askari ARL 30 to relieve the Officer of the Deck! I had the 04 to 08 watch and as I made my way up the ladders to the bridge, the whole night lit up and then a blast and precussion which occurred that almost knocked me down!

Immediately, we dispatched our Casualty Control Team consisting of CWO M. Fleischman and his Damage Controlmen in our ready Mike Six! Even the skipper of Askari at the time was Lcdr Al Festag and he was a qualified Navy Diver and he and several other of the Askari's divers deployed with our emergency team over to the USS Westchester County and spent the next four hours extracting the mortally wounded men and the wounded men from he 2nd and 3rd deck compartments on the Starboard side of Westchester County!

Our XO was Lt. Mike Colonna who was more than qualified to handle anything with the Askari while the skipper was absent! I have seen previous accounts written on this situation and found that no credit was given Askari for their assistance? Yes, that really puzzled me! I was the Assistant Repair Officer at the time, and Lt. Bill Bush was the Repair Officer!

In fact, the Westchester County was beached then the USS Askari repair department sealed up both holes in the Starboard side of Westchester County and this allowed the ship to proceed at 8 knots back to Subic Bay in the Philippines under her own power for temporary repairs. She then got underway and transited to Yokosuka for drydocking and permanent repairs.

Askari had one of the sharpest Repair Departments that I have ever seen in all my experience in the US Navy! What we couldn't get through the normal supply system channels, the ships repair department manufactured!
Story Courtesy of Bobby Freeman CWO
EMAIL: cwofreeman[ at ]

USS Cohoes
A diver boat that operated in the rivers near the De Nang area.

Photo Courtesy of HOLLIS who obtained it from Gary "Frenchy"
EMAIL: hfan78[ at ]

USS Brule
in Dong Tam basin sometime in 67

Photo Courtesy of Doug Lindsey
EMAIL: VERMIN250[ at ]

USS Brule
Tied along side the YRBM17 delivering supplies

Photo Courtesy of Doug Lindsey
EMAIL: VERMIN250[ at ]

A small supply ship at the YRBM20 in Chou Doc

The Kerrey story gave me a flashback to Nha Be. I believe the seals had a barracks there. I remember them as "Rambo" types, very strange dudes.
I didn't see any explosions but there was ship sunk in the middle of the river with it's hull sticking up the whole time we were there. I understood it was the work of a "swimmer". We dropped hand grenades all night, at 15 minute intervals, whenever we were docked. This annoyed most of the people on the base but especially the smaller boats docked nearby.
I had a date with the most beautiful woman I ever went out with in Vung Tau. We went to some kind of play, all in Vietnamese. I had no idea what they were saying but she laughted a lot.

USS Tom Green County - History

I enjoyed the stories and photos about the Westpac cruise of ’67.

Thanks for the memories , I remembered many of them that pertained to the ship itself.

I remember falling off my chair watching a flick on the mess deck.

Also the rounds that were fired at you. I watched it from 1 alpha station on deck.

Do you know the story about the throat getting cut – I think it was Ensign King? I always wanted to know a little about it.

Sarge, I am retired my wife and I live in Tarpon Springs, FL from November thru May and we return home to Pennsylvania from June through October. My pics, of which I have many, are back home. I may have something from back then on my laptop, I will have to look. I was a communications yeoman and on the cruise, was working in the radio shack , mostly operating teletypes. I took my turn as messenger, and worked on the one alpha station on and off-loading cargo. Ltjg Fetherling was one of our officers, there were others I can’t recall right now. Stateside, I worked mostly in an office on the main deck starboard side, updating manuals, and doing paint stripping and repainting, you remember the drill. I kept to myself quite a bit on the ship, but had a small circle of friends and a larger group of guys I tried to keep a wide berth from. There are at least two photos I am in in the 67 cruise book . We all have lots of stories from those days, and I have several, however, most of them are not pleasant so why bring them back. I had my first legal drink in Hawaii and got married while I was stationed on the Seminole, in December 1967. Got to meet Elvis Presley in ’66 while the ship was in dry dock in Long Beach and he was filming a movie there at the naval station. I was on a message run to the comm-center. When you wrote “WE WERE SO YOUNG” you were so right.

I’ll see what photos I have when I go back to Pennsylvania in June. I’m sure you’d enjoy seeing them.

I guess I actually do not “know” you although I should. I saw your name on a website and thought I get in touch. I was a Marine sergeant embarked aboard the USS SEMINOLE IN 1967. We were part of Ready Group Bravo and survived the fire in Subic Bay – thanks to the USS ENTERPRISE , transitioned to the USS TOM GREEN COUNTY while you all put your ship back together, and later re-embarked on the SEMINOLE from which I departed in September 1967. I was released from active duty by the Marine Corps and later joined the Air Force from which I retired in 2005.

I worked OEF with Air Force Operations Group in the basement of the Pentagon . You simply would not believe where they would put a C-17. My hat was/is off to my Marine buddies who sat in the back of those C-17’s and trusted pilots to get them where they were going. It was a long, interesting and turbulent career, but I am glad it is over. Nowadays there are just too many personal agendas among much of our leadership agendas that I don’t think we experienced way back when.

Regardless, I would like to maybe hear from some of the old crew. We weren’t pretty, but you guys were magnificent! Cheers!


Lt Col, USAF (ret)

3933 Salceda Place

Sierra Vista, AZ 85650-4259

(520) 456-7944 cell

(520) 803-9695 fax

"Hey Sarge, Good to hear from you. Recently went to dinner at a neighbors house and met a friend of there's from New York . the guy was a CB and spent some time in Dong Ha. He said he was always amazed by the navy guys that went up and down the Cau Viet river in those boats."


This photo of USS Tom Green County LST 1159 personalized print is exactly as you see it with the matte printed around it. You will have the choice of two print sizes, either 8″x10″ or 11″x14″. The print will be ready for framing, or you can add an additional matte of your own choosing then you can mount it in a larger frame. Your personalized print will look awesome when you frame it.

We PERSONALIZE your print of the USS Tom Green County LST 1159 with your name, rank and years served and there is NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for this option. After you place your order you can simply email us or indicate in the notes section of your payment what you would like printed. For example:

United States Navy Sailor
Proudly Served: Your Years Here

This would make a nice gift for yourself or that special Navy veteran you may know, therefore, it would be fantastic for decorating the home or office wall.

The watermark “Great Naval Images” will NOT be on your print.

Media Type Used:

The USS Tom Green County LST 1159 photo is printed on Archival-Safe Acid-Free canvas using a high-resolution printer and should last many years. The unique natural woven texture canvas offers a special and distinctive look that can only be captured on canvas. Most sailors loved his ship. It was his life. Where he had tremendous responsibility and lived with his closest shipmates. As one gets older, the appreciation for the ship and the Navy experience will get stronger. The personalized print shows ownership, accomplishment and an emotion that never goes away. When you walk by the print you will feel the person or the Navy experience in your heart.

We have been in business since 2005 and our reputation for having great products and customer satisfaction is indeed exceptional. You will, therefore, enjoy this product guaranteed.

Watch the video: Wayne Williams Project of the Year Award: Tom Green County Library (January 2022).