USS Harnett County (LST-821/AGP 821)

USS Harnett County (LST-821/AGP-821)

The memorial shown above is to the USS Harnett County (LST-821/AGP-821).  It appears on the third floor of the Harnett County Courthouse in Lillington, North Carolina. With the consent of the County of Harnett, it was placed there by the Harnett County Veteran’s Council.

In the glass encasement there is a model and two framed photographs of the ship when it was designated the USS (LST-821). Above encasement is a list of medals awarded to the ship. To the side of the medals in the photograph above is information about the ship and a description of the crest which appears at the top.

The designation USS means “United States Ship”.  It is a designation used for Navy ships. 1

USS Harnett County (LST-821) was a LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II.  Named after Harnett County, North Carolina she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. 2

It was originally named the USS LST-821:

USS LST-821 was laid down on 19 September 1944 at Evansville, Indiana by the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company; launched on 27 October 1944.  (Wiki).

The ship saw service during World War II:

During World War II, LST-821 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific theater and participated in the assault and occupation of Okinawa Gunto from April through June 1945.  Following the War she performed occupation duty in the Far East until early December 1945.  LST-821 returned to the United States and was decommissioned in March 1946 and assigned to the Pacific Reserve Fleet. (Wiki)

The LST-821 was renamed:

On 1 July 1955 all remaining LSTs were given names of U.S. counties; LST-821 was named USS Harnett County (LST-821).(Wiki).

The ship also saw service in Vietnam:

The USS Harnett County (LST-821) saw extensive service during the Vietnam conflict.  This service began with the Vietnamese Counteroffensive-Phase II (12 January to 31 May 1967) through the Vietnamese Counteroffensive – Phase VII (1 to 21 July 1970), a total of at least eleven campaigns as detailed in the article cited in end note 2 below. (Wiki).

The ship went through at least two additional name changes:

Re-designated a Patrol Craft Tender, USS Harnett County (AGP-821), in the spring of 1970, she was decommissioned 12 October 1970 at Guam.  The ship was transferred to South Vietnam under the Security Assistance Program on 12 October 1970 and renamed RVNS My Tho (HQ-800).  My Tho was one of the flotilla of thirty-five Republic of Vietnam Navy ships that sailed for Subic Bay after the fall of Saigon in April 1975.  She was transferred to the Philippines  on 5 April 1976.  Her final fate is unknown. (Wiki)

The battle stars and other awards are pictured in the photograph above and are referred to as follows:

LST-821 earned one battle star for World War II service.  Additionally, Harnett County earned nine battle stars, two awards of the Presidential Unit Citation, and three awards of the Navy Unit Commendation for the Vietnam War. (Wiki)

An excellent history of the USS Harnet County (LST-821) was produced by the Mobile Riverina Force Association, 106 Belkleview Drive NE, Conover, NC 28613, is consistent with the Wikipedia article listed in end note 2, and is available on line. 3.

END NOTES

1.  http://www.gaillod.com/messages/2189.html
2.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USSHarnett_County_(LST-821) [hereafter Wiki]
3.  http://mrfa.org/lst_821.htm.

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