This page is confined to photos and stories related to events occurring during the Navy's Solant Amity I Cruise to South America and Africa, November 1960 through May 1961. This is but a part of the story involving the members of the G" Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment out of Camp LeJeuene, North Carolina and, primarily, the crews of three ships of the U.S Navy: The USS Graham County LST 1176, later to become the AGP 1176, the USS Gearing DD710 and the USS Hermitage LSD-34.

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2-6-2 Mess Hall
Camp LeJeune, NC 1960

Trinidad, BWI
USS Graham County

Shellbacks: 1st Sgt Perkins
& GSgt Lykens
Shellback Ceremony

USS Graham County
LST 1176

Equator Crossing

Equator Crossing

Equator Crossing

Equator Crossing

Equator Crossing

Photo by Richard Landry

Recife, Brazil
Christmas Eve, 1960

Recife as seen from
Olinda, Brazil

Nightime in Recife

Olinda, Brazil The Church of
Our Lady of Carmo

Olinda, Brazil The Church of
Our Lady of Carmo

Moulin Rouge - Furnished by Archie Fuller, Weapons Platoon

Brazilian Cruzeiros



What else but a bar coaster!

1960 Pounds from BWI

Amtrac Warfare

USS Graham County after
Conversion to AGP-1176
[ History of LST-1176]

USS Geary DD-710 "She was a
tin-can destroyer, the lead ship
of the Navy's Gearing class..."
Home Page

Leave Gearing,

Return to Graham County

Guinean troops embark
Guinean troops evacuate Congo.

General Dianne Embarks

Guninean troops fill tank deck.

Guinean troops disembark
in Conakry, Guinea.

The rows of photos above and below were furnished by former E4 Corporal Ronald G. Van Dunk ( ) of the Field Communication Unit on the Hermitage . They represent the efforts and purposes of the Solant Amity Task Force in, first, providing for the evacuation of ill and wounded Guinean United Nations forces from the Congo conflict. And, too, our function in the region as expressed by the Captain of the Hermitage to provide assistance to the famine, culturally and educationally impoverished of the region:

"In response to a United Nations request, Solant Amity ships assisted in the evacuaton of a Guinean Army United Nations detachment from the explosive Congo. After a record making trip up the tricky river, we arrived at Matadi where we embarked over 500 "blue capped" United Nations troops with all of their gear ... "pet" snakes and all ... into a folding cot ensconsed area of the forward well deck. For seven days we fed, entertained and observed our first combat-equipped African Army. Our amateur linguists applied high school French on the language barrier with evident success. Flying the U.N. flag, we steamed into Conakry, Guinea and were greeted by throgs of people celebrating the return of the "Armee Guinee."

Then, the Captain continued:

"While we were in Bathurst, the United Nations called upon us to simultaneously alleviate the famine conditions in the Congo. Hence, HERMITGE proceeded to Lome, Togo where 500 tons ... exceeding the previously established record by 200 tons!! ... of grain were loaded into her well. It was accomplished, not with local help, but with the strong backs of sailors and Marines alike in but two days. It was then transported it to the port of Matadi, some eighty miles inland via the Congo River from the river's South Atlantic throat. There, it was unloaded and shipped via rail to the devastated regions of the upper Congo River.
The basic tenets of the People-to-People program were to win friends, not buy them. To influence not dictate. To help nations mature, not to obligate or subjugate them. We carry a little of America wherever we go and must show our way of life to those who may be misinformed or ignorant of our national character.
We donated food, clothing and medical supplies to schools, hospitals and missions to help the less fortunate get back on their feet. We presented books to those eager to learn. We did our best and can be proud of what we've accomplished..

All of which sounds like a great plan for life, whether "in country" or back in the world.

USS Gearing Abijan, Ivory Coast

Sailor: Herb Gray
and Marines:
Meredith Phillips & Ed Shea

U.S. "Mule" & Ambassador & Monrovia's President Taubman

Troops pass in review for Monrovia's President Taubman in Liberia in January of 1961.

Archie Fuller atop his wounded
mechanical "mule" on the Graham
County parked in Point Noire, Congo.

Chaplain Kingsley and Lt. Carver provide three month's supply of milk on behalf of the United States, in Cape Town, SA in March of 1961.
Solant Amity I

Cruise Calendar
Advanced Infantry Training
Certifcate - Geiger 1965
Royal Shellback Certificate

Lt.Col, Sweitzer
Plan of the Day

9Feb61 ******

Plan of the Day

23Mar61 ******

Ed Shea - January 1961
Monrovia, Liberia

Francs from the former French African Colonies - 1960

Bathurst, Gambia

Flag Removed from Russian
Embassy in Conakry

Mail Call on Graham Country
Photo by Fuller

Pfc Arthur Busbee &
Pfc Meredith Phillips

Amtrac Inbound

Point Noire, Congo

Grunts to the beach

Joe Teklits & Ed Shea

LST-1176 Off Cape Town

Another great photo of
USS Graham County

USS Graham County's
Solant Amity I - Travel Log***

Photo of Entire Company
G - 2 - 6 **
[ Click for display options]

Gearing coming alongside the
Graham County - Photo by Fuller, AL

Tabletop Mountain Cape Town, SA
Photo by Fuller, AL

Minicone's Shellback Certificate

Gary Fusco & Pete Greco

Mameluke Sword

The "casually attired"Albie Sears
on the Vogey's fantail

Sgt. Bailey at
African orphanage

"Landing Ship Dock"
LSD-34 USS Hermitage

Cape Point, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Aerial view Cape Town to Cape Horn

View Cape Town from
Table Mountain

3 rd Platoon Travel Log

"G" Company Officers wrestle with inlfation mechanism on Cape Town Beach-Photo by Fuller

Squad Leader Notebook

Officers & Staff NCOs 1961

Schmidt & Teklits
Rota or Cadiz, Spain

Capetown Demonstration of Parashoot Landing by Recon Forces at Woodstock Beach

South African
Demonstration Landing
of Helicopters at
Woodstock Beach

For story about Capetown landing at
Woodstock Beach, click

Another great night spot!

On the Watery Road Again!!!

My gawd, how many Great
watering holes did we hit?
Medal Entitlement
for Congo Expedition


USMC Expeditionary Medal
(1 Meg-Acrobat File)
(7 Meg-Acrobat File)
[ From WW I to 1987 ]

* Provided by Rocco Minicone; **Provided by Douglass Carver, 2nd Platoon Commander; ***Provided by Steve Fetterly, Corpsman; ****Third Platoon Log furnished by George Bitsoli; *****Photo by Ron Kellar, Crewman of the destroyer Vogelgasang; ****** Documents provided by Robert Thomas, "B" Company of the 2nd Pioner Battalion

If you've any questions or can add anything to enhance this page, please contact the site webmaster .

To Home page. Meet the 1st Platoon; 2nd Platoon; 3rd Platoon ; Headquarters and H&S Company Personnel or Weapons Platoon. See photos and more concerning the Santa Maria Incident or read the Comments of visitors to the site or a tribute to the Marines aboard the Hermitage or of the Corp's Discipline Problems in the 1970s.
Or, perhaps you would just like to see some recent photos of the Corps' Parris Island Training Center or ad some interesting Military Anecdotes from the 60's
, maybe you'd just like to see recent photos of the Parris Island Training Center or an array of Links and Things.