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T-AVB Advanced Aviation Base Ships

LST-32 Alameda County was reactivated as a part of the Navy's expansion of its active fleet following the communist invasion of South Korea, the ship was recommissioned on 7 March 1951, Lt. John W. Leonard in command and operated with the Atlantic Fleet Amphibious Force until reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet Naval Air Force in April of 1953. By September, she was operating out of Naples, Italy, serving as an advanced base support ship with Air Logistics Support Division 2. With the exception of occasional voyages to the United States for alterations and repairs, LST-32 operated in the Mediterranean Sea for the remainder of her active Navy career providing the 6th Fleet with the capability of establishing forward NATO air bases anywhere in the Mediterranean on short notice. On 1 July 1955, she received the name Alameda County.

Most of her missions consisted of training evolutions and exercises, but once she had the opportunity to put all that practice to use. Late in October 1956, Israel, Britain, and France retaliated against Egypt after the latter country had seized the Suez Canal. In response to the crisis, Alameda County moved to Suda Bay, Crete, and had an emergency air base in operation by 22 November. From then until 4 December, she staged United Nations forces into the troubled area while evacuating Americans and other foreign nationals.

Soon thereafter, she resumed normal operations out of Naples. On 28 September 1957, the ship was redesignated AVB-1. In July 1958, Alameda County again demonstrated her capabilities when United States Marine Corps forces landed in Lebanon to help stabilize the volatile situation in that country. She returned to Suda Bay on 14 July and spent the next three months housing, feeding, rearming, and refuelling the air squadrons flying support missions for the marines in Beirut. The landing force departed Lebanon in October, and Alameda County resumed her drills and exercises put of Naples. On 25 June 1962, Alameda County was decommissioned at Naples; and her name was struck from the Navy list on 30 June 1962. She was sold to the Government of Italy on 20 November 1962. She served the Italian Navy as Anteo (A 5306) into the mid-1980's.

USS LST-1154, a 2250-ton LST-1153 class tank landing ship, was built at the Boston Navy Yard, Massachusetts. She was commissioned in May 1949 and thereafter operated with the Atlantic Fleet. Renamed Tallahatchie County in July 1955, she deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in 1958 and in 1959-60.

In 1961-62, she was converted to an advance aviation base ship and redesignated AVB-2. The advanced aviation base ship Tallahatchie County (AVB-2) was converted from LST-1154, one of two ships of the steam-powered LST-1153-class. Her after superstructure has been extended forward and her forecastle built up; electronic antennas and a heavy kingpost are mounted amidships. As an AVB, Tallahatchie County was designed to provide command and logistic facilities to a squadron of antisubmarine patrol planes operating from an improvised land base. Squadron equipment was carried in mobile vans, transported in Tallahatchie County's tank deck, and landed over her bow ramp.

She was sent to the Mediterranean in mid-1962 to provide immediate support for the establishment of expeditionary air bases. From 1962 to 1969, the USS TALLAHATCHIE COUNTY (AVB 2) was the single U.S. fleet unit operating locally at Souda Bay, Crete, Greece. This was the first step taken by the United States Navy in supporting forward-deployed SIXTH Fleet units from this far eastern Mediterranean island. U.S. Naval Detachment, Souda Bay was commissioned on 28 May 1969. At that time, a 16 personnel complement under the command of a First Class Petty Officer made up the entire detachment. As time passed and the detachment expanded, the base personnel count rose to 93 enlisted personnel and 3 officers (1 August 1972). The following department/activities comprised US NAVDET, Souda Bay: Mobile Mine Assembly Group Detachment Six; Naval Communication Station, Greece Detachment; Naval Inshore Warfare Task Unit, Europe; and Naval Weather Service Environment Detachment. The mission of the NAVDET was to maintain and operate facilities providing base support for U.S. Naval Forces operating in the Mediterranean, including transient, temporary, and permanently based ships, aircraft, units, detachments, and personnel during normal and contingency operations.

Homeported at Naples, Italy, Tallahatchie County remained in the Mediterranean for the rest of her Navy service. She was decommissioned in January 1970 and sold for scrapping in July of that year.



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