USS Barnstable County
(LST-1197)

Operation Nimbus Star
Suez Canal 1974


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Painting of the USS Barnstable County, moored in front of the Suez Canal Authority BuilDing at Port Said, Egypt, Oct. 1974.

Painting by Gene Klebe © 1974


Insignia of Task Force 65 Courtesy of USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) Home Page

In 1974 the USS Barnstable County was originally scheduled for the Fall Mediterranean deployment. Unexpectedly, she received orders to join the Spring Mediterranean deployment. Unbeknownst to most of the crew at the time, the real reason for the Barnstable County's reassignment was that she was going to be a key element for Operation "Nimbus Star/Nimbus Moon". This operation was a joint effort between the United States, Britain, France and Egypt to clear the Suez Canal and the surrounding area, of all mines (Nimbus Star) and other explosive ordinance (Nimbus Moon) in preparation for the reopening of the canal to civilian traffic. The canal had been closed since the 1967 war between Egypt and Israel when ships were sunk at both ends of the canal, by Egypt, to block its use.

About the time the Barnstable County left Little Creek,  Helicopter Mine Counter MeasuresSquadron 12 (HM-12), embarked upon the  USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2), started to sweep mines from the Mediterranean entrance to the Suez Canal at Port Said, Egypt. It was not until the Barnstable county had been in the Med for a few weeks and was about to participate in a joint training operation between the United States and Turkey, did the true purpose of her being in the Med became known. We had just left the port of Iskenderian, Turkey with troops embarked, when we received orders to "...return to port, disembark all troops and return to sea ASAP!" Once back out to sea, we received our official orders to set course for Port Said, Egypt in which a channel had been just cleared of all mines for us by HM-12. Or as the message put it, "...99% probability of all mines being cleared from swept channel...!".

On June 4, 1974 the USS Barnstable County safely entered the Port of Said, the Northern entrance of the Suez Canal. On June 8th, she headed down the canal becoming the first ship of her size to enter the canal since 1967. She steamed 46 miles down the canal to Lake Timsah and the resort city of Ismailia. There we anchored and became the command ship for the joint American, British, French and Egyptian canal clearance operation. We were at anchor in Lake Timsah for 4 months at which time we steamed back up the canal to Port Said and were relieved by the USS Boulder (LST-1190).


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Suez Canal 1974 Thumbnails

Click on any thumbnail for a full size picture and description

Shirt Logo

Johnny Walker Sign - Port Said

Ferry Boats - Port Said

Suez Canal Debris

Canal Transit - Derrick Arms

Canal Transit-Swing Bridge

Canal Transit-Bombed Bldgs.

Canal Transit-Pontoon Bridge

Canal Transit

Canal Transit - Looking Astern

Liberty Call

Amphibious Squadron 8 Insignia - Lake Timsah, Egypt

Newspaper Article about Suez Canal Op

My View of Sadat's Boat

Lizard Lounge - Gator News

Entrance to Lizard Lounge - Lake Timsah, Egypt

Lizard Lounge - Lake Timsah, Egypt

Patio @ Lizard Lounge

Billy & Radar

Plank Owners @ Lizard Lounge

Shoeshine Guy - Ismailia

Mine Clearing

LST-1197 at Achor - Lake Timsah, Egypt

My Arab Outfit - Lake Timsah

Ship Awards - Lake Timsah

At the Pyramids & Sphinx - Cairo

Pyramids of Giza

QMC Murrow - Pyramid Camel Ride

QMC Murrow of Arabia

Lake Timsah Sunset

Helmsman - Suez Canal

Bomb Damage - Suez Canal Authority Bldg.

Russian made Missle Gun Boats - Port Said

Moored at Port Said

Moored at Port Said

Boulder's view of bow

Boulder's view of stbd side

Boulder's view of stern

Home - 11/1/74

Home - 11/1/74

Welcome Home!
Anyone that has photos from this operation they would like to contribute,
please contact Webmaster


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Cover of the November 1974 issue of the All Hands magazine that first wrote about the Suez Canal clearing operation "Nimbus Star" and the role the USS Barnstable County was playing in this operation. Click on the cover photo below to read the article.


All Hands Magazine photos courtesy Billy McNees

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Cover of Spring 2008 issue of the Mine Warfare News magazine featuring a historical article, written by Ashley Lovejoy, about the Suez Canal clearing operation "Nimbus Star."




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Version (01.46): June 26, 2014