USS ASHLAND (LSD-1)
was laid down on 22 June 1942 at Oakland
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
and returned to Hawaii on 27 September. Following voyage
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
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
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
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
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
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
New Guinea. There
she embarked troops for transportation to
the Philippines; and
after delivering them to Leyte she returned to Hollandia
on 21 November.
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
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
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
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 March 1946 at San Diego.
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.
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
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.
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.
underway trainine. On 20 September
she eot underway for Operation "Sunec
which took her to Thule
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
the shin took part in amphibious exercises at Vieques Island
Rico. Following this evolution
she made a reserve training cruise to Bermuda.
the vessel embarked Army personnel and equipment at Argentia
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
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
recommissioned on 29 November 1961. Assigned to Amphibious Squadron 4
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
her home port
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
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
including Operation "Beachtime" which mvolved over 40
ships of the 2d Fleet. Upon her return to Little Creek on 27 June
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
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
deployed to the Mediterranean on 3 January 1968. She relieved Donner
(LSD-20) at Almeria
on 24 January and then held landing exercises
at Aranci Bay
Sardinia and Lovo Santo
Corsica. She visited Gibraltar
and Naples and La Spezia
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
weighed anchor for what proved to be her last Mediterranean tour. During
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
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]