Submitted by Gene Allred.
The ship LST-854 was launched November 20,1944; sponsored by Mrs. M.A. Menkol; and commissioned December 14,1944 with Lt. E.J. Roberson in command.
After shakedown off Florida, the LST-854 departed New Orleans for the Pacific January 16,1945. Steaming via the Panama Canal, West Coast, and Pearl Harbor, she reached Ulithi, Caroline Islands, April 1st. There she prepared to support the invasion of Okinawa; then with an Army Aviation Battalion on board, she sailed April 12 for that strategic island which lay at the gateway to the heart of the Japanese empire. Six days later, the LST-854 arrived at Nago, Okinawa. Despite heavy enemy air raids, she unloaded troops and equipment, then returned to Ulithi. During the remaining months of the war, she shuttled troops and equipment among the Philippines and Okinawa in preparation for a possible invasion of Japan.
Then, in 1951, she left San Diego to assist in the transportation of troops and cargo in the Korean War.
The LST-854 was named Kemper County on July 1,1955.
The Kemper County also went to South Vietnam in 1965 and operated primarily in the rivers of the Mekong Delta transiting enemy-controlled territory to carry supplies to the Vietnamese Army Headquarters Can Tho.
During this deployment Kemper County carried over 10,000 tons of military cargo and vast quantities of food and clothing for the war-stricken civilian population of South Vietnam before returning to San Diego in May, 1966.
Her services won her the Battle Efficiency "E" of 1966.
LST-854 received one battle star for World War II service and five stars for service in the Korean conflict.
This was published in a collection of history about Electric Mills and
Kemper county people who had lived the call :" THE STORY OF ELECTRIC MILLS, MISSISSIPPI, Compiled by Eva Mae May, 1970 with no copyright"
Jeff Kemp - State Coordinator
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