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USS King County (AG 157) on 10 December 1958.
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Class: KING COUNTY (AG 157, ex LST 857)
Design: Navy LST 542
Displacement (tons): (est.) 1,780 light, 3,640 full
Dimensions (feet): 328' oa, 316' wl x 50' e/wl x 14' max nav
Armament: 2-40mmT, 6-40mmS, 6-20mmT
Speed (kts.): 12
Propulsion (HP): 1,800
Machinery: Geared diesel, 2 screws
|157||KING COUNTY||17 May 1958||Chicago Bridge||19 Sep 1944||6 Dec 1944||COM/SRV|
|157||KING COUNTY||28 Jul 1960||1 Aug 1960||25 Apr 1961||Navy sale||--|
On 5 June 1956 BUSHIPS requested approval of a project to convert an LST to test the design of launching, handling and stowage equipment for the missile to be used in SSG(N) 587 (HALIBUT). BUSHIPS further stated that the cost could be covered by using funds in FY 1956 for the design and development of the submarine. The Assistant CNO for Fleet Operations and Readiness reported to VCNO on 20 July 1956 that the characteristics for the submarine required the missile launcher to take REGULUS II initially and subsequently TRITON and that the proposed test vessel would permit timely development of the REGULUS II - TRITON missile weapon system while saving much time, money, and effort. He noted that if the LST were placed in service but out of commission and assigned to the administrative structure of a shore activity, a total of 3 officers and 28 enlisted men could meet the minimum personnel requirements and not be charged to fleet allocations. On this basis he recommended approval of the proposed conversion.
KING COUNTY (LST 857) began conversion to an experimental guided missile test ship at NSY Mare Island on 12 October 1957 and was reclassified AG-157 on 17 May 1958. She was fitted with a hangar capable of carrying four missiles, a mock-up of the submarine's sail and hull on her deck for use in testing a prototype missile handling system, and equipment for monitoring and evaluating the launch and flight capabilities of Regulus II guided missiles. She completed conversion on 15 November 1958 and then departed for testing and evaluation operations out of San Diego and Port Hueneme. The suggestion for austere manning was not followed and the ship was placed in regular commission for the tests. Assigned to Submarine Squadron 5, KING COUNTY conducted her first missile engine firing on 8 December while operating in the Pacific Missile Range and fired her first Regulus II missile two days later. Due to its cost and the emergence of the Polaris SLBM program, the Regulus II missile program was cancelled on 18 December 1958. KING COUNTY then performed simulated missile launchings, served on telemetry and recovery stations in the Pacific Missile Range, supported the development of America's space program, and participated in tracking and recovering missile nose cones. Transferred to the 11th Naval District on 1 July 1959, she continued operating as a missile tracking and recovery ship and in 1960 supported the telemetering and recovery of the data capsule from Discovery XII. After returning to Port Hueneme on 8 July 1960, she moved to Long Beach on 19 July 1960, was relieved by RANGE RECOVERER (AGM 2), and was decommissioned on 28 July 1960.
|157||KING COUNTY||(ex-LST 857, completed 18 Dec 1944)|
Compiled: 18 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: NARA: RG19 Item S-13 Entry 1022-V(UD)