1st USS Ashland
Ashland (LSD-1) underway off Cape Henry, Virginia, 20 May 1953. She has been virtually unmodified since her commissioning 10 years before. (80-G-628067)

USS Ashland (LSD 1) was laid down on 22 June 1942 at Oakland, Calif., launched on 21 December 1942 and commissioned on 5 June 1943 with Lt. Comdr. F. J. Harris as the commanding officer.

Following two months of trials, USS Ashland loaded amphibious craft and personnel at San Diego and headed to Pearl Harbor. The dock landing ship sailed for Baker Island on 25 August 1943 and to for New Caledonia on 19 October. In November Ashland proceeded to Efate where she joined Task Force (TF) 53 to take part in amphibious assault exercises in the Gilbert Islands.

In January 1944 Ashland got underway for exercises off Maui then sortied with TF 52 for the assault on the Marshall Islands. From 1 to 5 February, Ashland was involved in assaults on Kwajalein. On 15 February, the ship steamed to the assault on Eniwetok where served as a repair ship. Ashland departed Pearl Harbor in May for the initial assault on the Marianas where she launched boats for the invasion on Saipan in June and then assumed duties as a repair ship. Tre ship's next assignment was the invasion of Tinian in July. She then sailed with Task Group(TG) 33.1 for the assault on Yap and Ulithi until she was diverted to Manus Island and assigned to TF 79 in preparation for the invasion of the Philippines. In October she launched her boats for the first assault against Leyte. Ashland left the combat area on 22 October and proceeded to Hollandia, New Guinea to embark troops for transportation to the Philippines. Ashland got underway in December for Lingayen Gulf and the occupation of Luzon.

USS Ashland steamed to Leyte in January 1945 and she was reassigned to the 5th Fleet. The ship then proceeded to Saipan in February and participated in landing rehearsals at Tinian before sailing for Iwo Jima and launching her boats. Despite continuing air attacks, Ashland's crew carried out repair work on schedule until she finally withdrew to Eniwetok in March. Ashland took on amphibious craft late in May and got underway for the Philippines in June. She embarked PT boats and their crews for transportation to Kerama Retto in June and returned to Leyte in July. She shuttled similar cargo to Okinawa soon thereafter and arrived at Eniwetok in August. The war ended on 15 August while Ashland was steaming independently to Espiritu Santo. Then she next sailed for Jinsen, Korea in September. Ashland got 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 recommissiqned on 27 December 1950 and sailed for the east coast in April. The ship participated in Operation "Bluejay,", then was deployed to Thule, Greenland, to the Caribbean for two months of operations and finally to Norfolk in November for the remainder of the year.

Ashland headed to the Caribbean in January 1953. She arrived back in the Virginia capes area in February and remained there until mid-June. In June, Ashland commenced a trip to the North Atlantic and operated in those waters through September when she took on board two French submarines and seven French naval personnel for transportation to the west coast.

In 1955, the ship underwent repairs at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and then proceeded to Newport, R.I., for training. On 20 September, she got underway for Operation "Sunec," which took her to Thule, Greenland, and ports in Labrador and Newfoundland.

Ashland entered an upkeep period in 1956. In April, the ship 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, Ashland was configured to handle six P5M-2 aircraft. The ship deployed to the Caribbean from August to mid-September. At the conclusion of this assignment, the dock landing ship was decommissioned on 14 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 began routine alternating operations off the east coast with 6th Fleet deployments to the Mediterranean and to the Caribbean.

In October 1964 Ashland participated in Operation "Steel Pike I," during which the ship served as a primary control vessel and boat repair ship.

Early in February 1965, Ashland took part in Operation "FirEx," a joint Navy-Marine Corps exercise off the Puerto Rican coast. Ashland got underway for the Mediterranean in June along with five other ships of Amphibious Squadron 4 and there served in six amphibious landing exercises.

USS Ashland deployed to the Caribbean on 3 March 1966 as part of the Caribbean Ready Group and conducted numerous amphibious landings, including Operation "Beachtime" which involved over 40 ships of the 2d Fleet.

In April 1967 Ashland got underway for training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 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.

Ashland deployed to the Mediterranean in January 1968. 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. 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.

USS Ashland earned six battle stars for World War II service.

To see a more detailed version of the 1st USS Ashland’s history.

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