Oct 1, 1956: USS Wood County was laid down by the American Shipbuilder in Lorain, OH
Dec 14, 1957: Launched
Aug 5, 1959: Commissioned
Apr - Jun 1965: I was on this ship, as a FMF Corpsman with the 10th Marines, for a float to the Caribbean and Operation Quick Kick VII. We did get to do our exercise on Vieques during this time and were suppose to head from there to Panama for a jungle warfare survival school, but those plans were changed and we headed to the Dominican Republic. I recall that the first thing we did was to evacuate American citizens and brought them back to San Juan, PR. Our life on the Wood County was really pretty good since we had A/C in the troop compartment and the 1st class Corpsman of the ship allowed Pat Handy and me to bunk in a spare room they used as a ward to keep patients. It had 6 bunks with real thick mattress's, our own lavatory and shower just down the passageway. The only thing with the showers is that we were actually sharing them with Marine officers, and that they were not happy about since we were just enlisted men. Boy they can ask some dumb questions though. Here we were, taking a shower and this Marine officer ask us what we are doing in here. Duh, we are taking a shower. From then on we were all able to chat back and forth with each other while down there in the showers and THEY adjusted to it and life went on for all. Food was good and living conditions were good not only for us but also for all the troops. We had movies up on the top deck at night and it was actually really nice up there with the warm ocean breeze. We were with several other ships on this float and I remember one night while at darken ship, we had some cruise ship go by us heading back to the states. You could see their bright lights and hear the music, but the people on there had no idea they were going by these Navy ships. There was no way they could see us. We would spend our nights sitting back on the fantail talking, smoking, and having a soda. Once we dropped the civilians off at San Juan, PR we brought on news people and other special government people, dressed as Marine officers, although they were not part of any the units on this float, so thus that could only mean one thing. And so we asked one of them and they did confirm to us as to who they actually were and nope, not Marines. Actually it was the haircut that sort of gave them away. LOL We made our landing in Santo Domingo and spent about 35 days there. Our first few days was spent in the rain and up on the polo grounds. After this we were moved down into a neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown. There was only one home on this block and it belonged to an architect who taught at the college there. We soon became friends and Pat, myself, and our executive officer, LT Charles VanHorn, spent some time there with his family. We were lucky there, no casualties nor were any of our men injured in anyway. Our trip back to the States was really wild though. We did run into a tropical storm off the coast of Georgia and spent 3 days just rolling with the waves, 30' to 50' waves. Boy, did that suck. I remember we did take a 56 degree roll which I think was the biggest roll the ship had ever taken. One of the amtraks came loose down on the well deck and was banging between one of the bulkheads and another amtrak. They had to move some of the troops for fear of the amtrak breaking through the bulkhead and killing the troops who were sleeping there. Well, it didn't happen, thank God. After 3 days of this we made it back into port at Morehead City, NC. Ah, home at last.
May 1, 1972: Decommissioned
Feb 16, 1989: Struck from the Naval Register
July 2002: Scrapped by Transforma Marine - Brownsville, TX
The amtrak that got loose in the well deck. Thats a lot of machine to be banging around down there.
Sitting in "mothballs" before she was scrapped. Sort of sad for me to see her sitting there like that, doing nothing but rusting away, but thats how life is for a ship. Ah but there is the fantail we would sit on at night while on our way to the Crib. Now I'm left with just a couple of pictures and the memories of this float. Another trip down memory lane.