LSD 48 | USS ASHLAND
ASHLAND takes its name from the Lexington, Kentucky estate of Henry Clay, one of our Nation’s greatest statesmen. It was designed by Benjamin H. Latrobe who rebuilt our Nation’s Capitol at Washington after it was burnt during the War of 1812. The name ASHLAND and Henry Clay are synonymous with determination.
The Original USS ASHLAND (LSD 1) was built by the Moore Dry Dock Company, Oakland, CA and commissioned June 16, 1943. The first Dock Landing Ship (LSD) built, was at the time the largest vessel ever designed for amphibious warfare. LSD 1 earned seven Battle Stars during World War II for participation in Pacific Campaigns.
LSD-48's keel was laid on 04 April 1989 at New Orleans, Louisiana by Avondale Industries Incorporated. Launching and christening took place on 11 November 1989 with Mrs. Kathleen Foley, wife of ADM S. R. Foley, Jr. (Ret.), as ship's sponsor. USS ASHLAND was commissioned on 09 May 1992 at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Since her commissioning, ASHLAND has distinguished herself in a variety of missions and operations. During her maiden overseas deployment to the Mediterranean from August 1993 to February 1994, she participated in a number of significant operations including Operation DENY FLIGHT off Bosnia, and Operations RESTORE HOPE and PROVIDE PROMISE off the coast of Somalia. The ship also made an historic port visit to Constanta, Romania in the Black Sea.
In September 1994, the ship received short notice orders to sail in support of Operation ABLE VIGIL, the Cuban Migration Interdiction effort, during which she rescued or received from other units over 5,100 Cuban migrants and transferred them to processing centers at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This was immediately followed by operations in both the Cap Haitian and Port Au Prince theaters during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, the military intervention in Haiti.
After her return from these operations in October 1994, ASHLAND became the first amphibious ship to embark females as permanent members of the crew. In December 1995, the ship returned from an extensive six month deployment to South America and West Africa as part of Unitas 36-95 and West African Training Cruise or WATC'95. During this period, ASHLAND visited over 20 cities and operated with the navies and marines of 12 South American and African nations. During this deployment, the ship transited the historic Chilean intercoastal Waterway, the Straits of Magellan, and rounded Cape Horn.
In May 1996, ASHLAND became the test platform for the Ship's Self Defense System (SSDS). SSDS integrates sensor and weapon systems to provide an automated, quick response, multi-target engagement capability against closing targets. SSDS utilizes both the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and the Rolling Airframe missile (RAM) system, which is a multi-target engagement, "fire-and forget" missile system used to intercept hostile and anti-ship missiles.
From October 1997 to April 1998, ASHLAND completed her third deployment, operating in the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. During this deployment, the ship participated in numerous exercises and operations including Operations DESERT THUNDER and SOUTHERN WATCH during a period of heightened tension in Southwest Asia.
January 12, 2003 USS Ashland departed as part of Amphibious Task Force (ATF) East, for service in the Central Command area of operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
March 25, 2005 USS Ashland departed with the USS Kearsarge ESG and the 26th MEU, in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
November 16 2006 , USS Ashland departed Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek to relieve USS Saipan (LHA 2) in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
ASHLAND proudly displays the Navy and Coast Guard Unit Commendations, the Battle Efficiency Ribbon, two Humanitarian Service Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal, three Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, and three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
Red, White, & Blue are our National colors. Dark Blue and gold
symbolize the sea of excellence. The stars commemorate the SEVEN battle
stars awarded for WWII service of the previous ASHLAND. The wavy
division of the shield highlights the shoreline while the chevron
simulates the prow of a ship, alluding to the LSD's theater of
operations and amphibious mission of delivering forces ashore. The pale
vertical bar suggests the numeral "I," honoring the previous ASHLAND's
historic role as the first ship in the LSD class. The Mameluke,
together with the gold palm on the red background suggest the Marine
force and underscores cooperation and military preparedness.