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COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHY FROM PARADISE...1971

By the Boys Who Carried In
The Boys Who Built the Seahuts!
USS GRAHAM COUNTY
LST 1176
Many thanks to Roger Allie <lword@theofficenet.com>, who provided these photos.
See What They Did Next On Page 2!
 
 
 
 

This page is devoted to photos of the early days, as well as any other "first photos" anyone would care to share.
I'll update this page as I receive more of your photos.
Send me YOUR Photo NOW!

Want to know more about LSTs?  See Dirk Brower's Homepage dedicated to these ships and men!
 

The Stories are in the "guestbooks".
Entries are listed by the 1st year the writer got there.  Select the years you're looking for:

Troglodites
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
Wannabes

Meanwhile, Welcome to Diego Garcia, 30 years ago...
Now here's a lost art - docking an LST on a tropical island!


 Launching the Causeway


Tugging the Causeway to Shore


Approaching the Causeway


Everybody's Waiting!
This spot is approximately where the Seaman's Club is now located.
Note the "Welcome" sign.
And the uniforms and beards... ah, Zumwalt's Navy, the good ol' days!


Getting close.


Almost Done...


All Done.  All Hands, Liberty...

And so what did they see and do then?
They had a beer, and started building the airfield...
Check out Page 2 to see the big picture!

And here's a message from an REAL OLD shipmate on the GC:


ROY PERDUE <LST1176USN@aol.com>  did my time on the GC 64-68   good to se the good page you done on her. Wish we all could do a reunion.. think about it maybe in kansas  that away it would be even from both sides east or west.     ROY PERDUE

DON EDWARDS <donascii@netzero.net>
Ted:
     When I went aboard the Graham County LST 1176,  in 1961, I made the 10th officer on board, when I transferred 18 months later, there were 15 officers and we didn't have primary billets for all. (I'm pretty sure there was one who didn't even have a collateral duty assignment - he was a good imitation of Ensign Pulver of Mister Roberts fame)
     If I can figure out how to get the pictures off color slides, I would be glad to share some real old salt stuff with you.
     For now, maybe a few word pictures. I was commissioned in OCS class 56 (nothing like the movie 'An Officer and a Gentleman" , we were in open wooden barracks 2 deck WWII vintage style in Newport RI) November 1961.  From there, I was sent to the LST 1176 in Little Creek Virginia, via communications school, crypto school and amphibious warfare school.  The ship's vehicle picked me up on or about 22 December 1961 and delivered me to the ship which was in the yards in Portsmouth VA. When I stepped into the wardroom, a slightly older ensign said "  my relief is here, I'm going on leave" .  However, a much older officer, (LTjg) offered to show me around.  We had the duty for the next 28 days, with one day off after about 18 or 19 days.  I thought the duties of an officer on that ship consisted of writhing deck logs, ship's log, dodging the snow mounds which covered the deck, breaking crypto messages (manually), drinking endless cups of coffee, declining proffered cigarettes, and hearing unmeaningful reports regarding the "engines".
     The Graham County was to have been the first of a "30 knot amphib fleet".  It had four engines (instead of the conventional six) and the those were of cast aluminum by Nordberg.  Unforfunately, the aluminum compound wasn't quite right and they kept burning out chunks in the cylinders when the vessel exceeded 24 knots, calling for replacement engines or rebuilding the engines - thus a life in the yards and endless schools, and low alcohol beer in the dives of Portsmouth, plus the ruination of some very fine sailors and collecing others who were not so very fine.  The worst thing, I discovered, for a sailor is to be aboard a ship sitting on a six month collection of coffee grounds.
     The ship made 2 cruises while I was aboard, the first was a Caribbean tour keeping an eye on Castro, and burning up engines while making a high speed run and limping back to the yards for engine rebuilding, and a shakedown run to Port Everglades, on which, we burned the engines, after which, Buships, decided to replace the aluminum with cast iron and consigned the 30 knot concept to the air navy.
     While we were in the yards that time, we underwent a FRAM, which significantly improved the communications capability, unfortunately, better than the rest of our squadron and the balance of the USN ("Mr. Edwards, I  can see the Admiral.  Why the hell can't I talk to him over your radios?" "Sir, just I moment and I'll have the signalmen set up flashing light or semaphore, sir")
     In May, I was detached and transferred to the NAAS Meridian Mississippi, where I enjoyed a tour as the public information officer while the navy was used as a search party in the Lyndon Johnson days.. But, that, as they say, is a story for another day.  The GC did survive and I was delighted to hear that it did sail and did serve some useful purpose in the Diego Garcia development.  Don Edwards

and another!

Apparently, I really am older than dirt since I didn't see a prompt icon for anything prior to 1971, while I was there during 61-63.
     Thought of a funny story from the  GC, I was OOD or CDO one day while we were back in Portsmouth waiting on the FRAM, a QM-2 named Hozias was POOW and was steadfastly maintaining security on our gangway while pacing up and down near the brow.  He was also practicing quickdrawing the 45 caliber pistol and 7 cartridges issued to POOWs, suddenly he whirled while drawing the weapon and found himself confronted by a huge black wharf rat. ("Biggest damn rat I've ever seen, Mr. Edwards.  I feared for my life!")  Naturally, he completed his drawing efforts by firing and killing the rat.  Thereafter the log entry read, " 45 caliber pistol and 6 rounds of ammunnition".  The seat of my washed khakis looked rather ragged because the skipper strenously objected to us shooting up the town.
     I offered to write the commendation letter for a Navy Commendation Medal for excellent shooting in a time of duress. That only got me a dirty look.  What do ensigns know anyway?  At least I didn't have to organize a burial detail, we got away with tossing it into the dumpster, after all hands had admired it and we invited the ship's company from across the pier to view our triumph.  Don
 
 
 


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