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U.S.S. ASHLAND

(LSD-1)

ALWAYS NUMBER 1
IN OUR HEARTS

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The USS ASHLAND (LSD-1), an Ashland-class dock landing ship, was commissioned on 5 JUN 1943. USS ASHLAND served her country for 26 years, 5 months and 17 days, until decommissioned on 22 NOV 1969.

The USS ASHLAND (LSD-1) deployment history and significant events of her service career follow:

LSD-1 Deployments - Major Events

Add a LSD-1 Shellback Initiation Add a LSD-1 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
JUN 1942 Keel Date: 22 JUN 1942
DEC 1942 Launch Date: 21 DEC 1942
JUN 1943 Commissioned: 5 JUN 1943
JUN 1943 - Shellback Initiation - 15 JUN 1943 - Pacific Ocean
SEP 1943 - Shellback Initiation - 21 SEP 1943 - Pacific Ocean
JUN 1953 - SEP 1953 Blue Nose - Artic Circle
OCT 1962 - MAY 1963 Mediterranean
JUN 1966 - AUG 1966 Caribbean
OCT 1968 - APR 1969 Mediterranean
JUL 1969 - SEP 1969 Mediterranean
NOV 1969 Decommissioned: 22 NOV 1969

LSD-1 General Specifications

Complement: 23 Officers and 267 Enlisted

Displacement: 4032 tons

Length: 457 feet 9 inches

Beam: 72 feet 2 inches

Draft: 15 feet 5.5 in

Flank Speed: 17 knots



USS ASHLAND (LSD-1)



Ashland (LSD-1) was laid down on 22 June 1942 at Oakland Calif. by the Moore Drydock Co. Iaunched on 21 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Jabez Lowell the wife of Capt. Lowell who was then the inspector of naval material at San Francisco and commissioned on 5 June 1943 Lt. Comdr. F. J. Harris in command.


Following two months of trials the dock landing ship loaded amphibious craft and personnel at San Diego stood out to sea on 11 August and headed west. After arriving at Pearl Harbor on 19 August the ship paused to take on more cargo and sailed on 25 August for Baker Island. Ashland reached that destination on 1 September unloaded her equipment and returned to Hawaii on 27 September. Following voyage repairs and the embarkation of Army troops she sailed on 19 October for New Caledonia. At Noumea the ship loaded tanks and marines and proceeded to Efate where she joined Task Force (TF) 53 to take part in amphibious assault exercises in the Gilbert Islands area which she completed on 28 November and set a course for Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor on 7 December and then commenced an availability period for voyage repairs and alterations.


On 11 January 1944 the vessel got underway for amphibious exercises off Maui. She sortied with TF 52 on 23 January for the assault on the Marshall Islands. From 1 to 5 February Ashland was involved in assaults on Kwajalein Island and on several of the other small islands in the atoll that bears the same name. On 15 February the ship embarked marines and equipment at Roi and Namur and proceeded to the assault on Eniwetok. The ship entered Eniwetok Atoll on 17 February and served as a repair ship through 29 February. On that day she got underway for Pearl Harbor.


After a period of availability and operations m Hawaiian waters the ship headed for the west coast of the United States. She reached San Francisco on 1 April began loading landing craft and was back in Pearl Harbor on 17 April. Ashland then conducted training exercises off Maui before leaving Hawaii on 29 May for the imtial assault on the Marianas. She launched boats for the invasion on Saipan on 15 June and then assumed duties as a repair ship. On 8 July Ashlarul sailed to Eniwetok for fuel and supplies.


The ship's next assignment was the invasian of Tinian on 24 July. She left the Marianas on 28 July and returned via Eniwetok to Pearl Harbor. Ashland underwent repairs and held amphibious landing exercises before sailing with Task Group(TG) 33.1 for the assault on Yap and Ulithi. Ashland was diverted to Manus Island where she was assigned to TF 79 and prepared for the invasion of the Philippines. The ship sailed on 14 October and launched her boats on the 20th for the first assault against Leyte. Ashland left the combat area on 22 October and proceeded to Hollandia New Guinea. There she embarked troops for transportation to the Philippines; and after delivering them to Leyte she returned to Hollandia on 21 November.


Ashland headed for Cape Gloucester on 28 November for training exercises. Tbree days later she got underway for Lingayen Gulf and the occupation of Luzon. All her equipment was unloaded by 12 January 1945 and Ashland retired toward Leyte. She continued on to Ulithi where she was reassigned to the 5th Fleet. The ship proceeded to Guam on 7 February loaded 18 amphibious craft and sailed to Saipan. There she took on spare parts and more troops. On 12 and 13 Februarv Ashlarul participated in landing rehearsals at Tinian. She sailed for Iwo Jima on 16 February and beean launchine her boats on the 19th. Despite continuing air attacks Ashland's crew carried out repair work on schedule until she finally withdrew to Eniwetok on 31 March.


Ashland entered Pearl Harbor on 13 April and underwent an availability. She took on amphibious craft late in May and got umderway for the Philippines on 3 June. She touched at Samar on 1 July to embark PT boats and their crews for transportation to Kerama Retto. The ship sailed on 3 July umloaded her charges and returned to Leyte on 10 July. She shuttled a similar cargo to Okinawa soon thereafter and arrived at Eniwetok on 7 August to refuel. The war ended on 15 August while Ashland was steaming independently to Espiritu Santo. After mooring there on 17 August she proceeded with a load of PT boats to Okinawa.


Then she next sailed for Jinsen Korea and arrived there on 29 September. She remained at that port two days before eetting underway for Leyte for a three-week availability before returning to Okinawa in late October. Ashland continued her duty of carrying and tending landing craft in the Far East until January 1946. Shortly thereafter she returned to the United States and was placed out of commission in reserve in March 1946 at San Diego.


Ashland was recommissioned on 27 December 1950 and completed her shakedown training at San Diego in February 1951. She sailed for the east coast in April and reported to the Maryland Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Baltimore Md. on 2 May for additional alterations. The ship's first assignment upon leaving the yard was Operation "BlueJay " held in conjunction with the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS). From June to September she was deployed to Thule Greenland. In September Ashland left Greenland and sailed to the Caribbean for two months of operations before returning to Norfolk in November for the remainder of the year.


The ship headed back toward the Caribbean in January 1953 for a month-long cruise. She arrived back in the Virginia capes area in February and remained there until mid-June. On 14 June Ashland commenced a trip to the North Atlantic and operated in those waters throueh mud-August. In September she took on board two French submarines and seven French naval personnel for transportation to the west coast. The vessel transited the Panama Canal on 10 October and touched at San Diego on the 14th. She returned to Norfolk in October and resumed service along the east coast.


From April to June 1955 the ship underwent repairs at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and then proceeded to Newport R.I. for underway trainine. On 20 September she eot underway for Operation "Sunec " which took her to Thule Greenland and ports in Labrador and Newfoundland. After returning in December Ashland entered an upkeep period lasting through February i956. She then received further repairs at Baltimore. In April the shin took part in amphibious exercises at Vieques Island Puerto Rico. Following this evolution she made a reserve training cruise to Bermuda. In July the vessel embarked Army personnel and equipment at Argentia Newfoundland and sailed on 19 July as part of the DEW line resupply mission. This operation lasted through 8 October.


On 1 November Ashland was transferred to the control of Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic for alterations enabling the ship to tend aircraft. By July 1957 she was configured to handle six P5M-2 aircraft. The ship deployed to the Caribbean from 1 August to mid-September. At the conclusion of this assignment the dock landing ship was decommissioned on 1 September 1957 and placed in the Norfolk Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.


Ashland was recommissioned on 29 November 1961. Assigned to Amphibious Squadron 4 she beean a routine alternating operations off the east coast with 6th Fleet deployments to the Mediterranean and to the Caribbean. In October 1964 she participated in Operation "Steel Pike I " during which the ship served as a primary control vessel and boat repair ship. Upon completion of "Steel Pike " the dock landing ship visited ports in Spain and Portugal before returning to Little Creek Va. her home port on 19 November.


Early in February 1965 Ashland took part in Operation "FirEx " a joint Navy-Marine Corps exercise off the Puerto Rican coast and returned to Little Creek on 6 March. She got underway for the Mediterranean in June along with five other ships of Amphibious Squadron 4 and there served in six amphibious landing exercises. Durmg this deployment she visited nme European ports of call before returning to her home port on 3 November.


The ship was deployed to the Caribbean on 3 March 1966 as part of the Caribbean Ready Group and conducted numerous amphibious landings including Operation "Beachtime" which mvolved over 40 ships of the 2d Fleet. Upon her return to Little Creek on 27 June Ashland conducted upkeep until sailing for Narragansett Bay on 18 July for a series of training exercises. She was back in Little Creek later that month and went alongside Amphion (AR-13) for an availability. Ashland spent the next few months in training exercises and then entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 18 November for overhaul.


The yard work ended on 3 March 1967 but Ashland remained in the Norfolk area until 10 April when she left for underway training at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. She returned to Norfolk on 11 May but four days later reversed her course and proceeded back to Guantanamo Bay. Ashland touched back at home port in early June and engaged in local operations until 3 October when the dock landing ship sailed for Vieques. She returned to Little Creek on 20 October and ended the year in an upkeep status.


Ashland was deployed to the Mediterranean on 3 January 1968. She relieved Donner (LSD-20) at Almeria Spain on 24 January and then held landing exercises at Aranci Bay Sardinia and Lovo Santo Corsica. She visited Gibraltar Valencia Spain Marseilles France and Naples and La Spezia Italy. From 29 April to 10 May Ashland took part in NATO Exercise "Dawn Patrol" which also involved French and Greek naval forces. She returned to Little Creek on 30 May.


During July and August the amphibious warship made visits to several east coast ports and embarked American and Austra
lian midshipmen for a training cruise. She spent September and October undergoing extensive repairs alongside Vulcan (AR-5). On 12 November Ashland weighed anchor for what proved to be her last Mediterranean tour. During the deployment she repeated her routine of amphibious landing exercises and port visits before returning to the United States in mid-1969. There it was found that the repairs she needed to continue efficient operation would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore Ashland was decommissioned on 22 November 1969. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 25 November 1969. She was sold to N. W. Kennedy Ltd. of Vancouver British Columbia in May 1970.

Ashland earned six battle stars for World War II service.


[Note: The above USS ASHLAND (LSD-1) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS ASHLAND (LSD-1) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]