US Navy’s amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) returned to her forward-deployed base in Sasebo, Japan, November 8, after completing a five-month deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Ashland departed Sasebo, May 26, and during five months at sea, completed multiple exercises, assessments and certifications, as well as several port visits.
“What a great success story for the crew,” said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, Ashland’s commanding officer. “Five months out at sea with all of their earned qualifications and training completed. It’s very impressive how they excelled at every corner.”
Ashland teamed with Marines of the Okinawa-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) for a majority of the deployment, participating together in the US-Australia bilateral Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia and follow-on MEU certification exercise.
Ashland and 31st MEU Marines conducted more training in Guam where Ashland also underwent a repair availability. After dropping off MEU Marines in Okinawa, Ashland conducted a three-week training period in Yokosuka, Japan.
The deployment culminated with Blue Chromite, where Ashland partnered with Marines of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment for a series of amphibious operations.
Besides the training, Sailors and Marines participated in community outreach projects in Brisbane and Cairns, Australia, and Guam that benefited local communities. Projects ranged from visits at local hospitals to environmental clean-ups at youth and elderly support organizations.
Part of the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet amphibious ships based in Sasebo, Japan, Ashland will now be in Sasebo for a maintenance period and to prepare for an upcoming Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) scheduled for May 2018.