Whether known by number or name, LST-905 (later known as the USS Madera County) served her country well from World War II through the Vietnam War. By the end of her United States Navy service, the ship and crew had earned one battle star and 10 campaign stars. Its final fate is a mystery.
The ship bore many soldiers whom the U.S. has honored this weekend and today for their sacrifice in its service. While Veterans Day was officially Sunday, today is the legal holiday for its observance.
Landing Ship – Tank (LST) amphibious assault vessels carried not only tanks but cargo, vehicles and large amounts of troops onto unimproved shores and beachheads. After the British disaster at Dunkirk, France, early in World War II, both the Royal and U.S. navies confirmed to UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt the need for large landing craft. By the end of 1942, 23 LSTs had been commissioned and by war’s end 1,051 had been built.
At the Legion of Honor Veterans Museum in Fresno, World War II and Korean War veterans Les Traeger and Ed Svetlik talked of their time serving on the landing crafts, which were used during landings in North Africa, D-Day and in the Pacific island campaigns...