USS Ashland (LSD 1) was laid down on June 22, 1942 in Oakland, California, by Moore Dry Dock Company. She was launched on December 21, 1942 and commissioned on June 5, 1943 with Lt. Commander F. J. Harris as her commanding officer.
Following two trial months, USS Ashland loaded its amphibious craft and personnel in San Diego then headed to Pearl Harbor. On August 25, 1943, she sailed for Baker Island and to New Caledonia on October 19. In November, she proceeded to Efate where she joined Task Force (TF) 53 to take part in an amphibious assault exercises in the Gilbert Islands.
In January 1944, Ashland went underway for exercises off Maui then sortied with TF 52 for the assault on the Marshall Islands. The first week in February, she was involved in assaults on Kwajalein. On February 15, she sailed onward to Eniwetok where she served as a repair ship. In May, she left Pearl Harbor 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. The 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 October 22 and proceeded to Hollandia, New Guinea to embark troops for transportation to the Philippines. In December, she got underway for Lingayen Gulf and the occupation of Luzon.
In January 1945, USS Ashland steamed to Leyte and was reassigned to the 5th Fleet. She 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. She 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 August 15 while she was steaming independently to Espiritu Santo. Then in September, she sailed for Jinsen, Korea. She got underway for Leyte for a three-week availability before returning to Okinawa in late October. She 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 December 27, 1950 and sailed for the east coast in April. She participated in Operation "Bluejay,", and then was deployed to Thule, Greenland, and to the Caribbean for two months of operations. She then went to Norfolk in November for the remainder of the year.
Ashland 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 June 14, she commenced a trip to the North Atlantic and operated in those waters through mid-August. In September she took on board two French submarines and seven French naval personnel for transportation to the West Coast.
In 1955, Ashland underwent repairs at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and then proceeded to Newport, Rhode Island, for underway training. On September 20, she got underway for Operation Sunec, which took her to Thule, Greenland, and ports in Labrador and Newfoundland. After returning in December, she entered an upkeep period lasting through February 1956. In April, she took part in amphibious exercises at Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Following this evolution, she made a reserve training cruise to Bermuda. In July, she boarded Army personnel and equipment at NS Argentia, Newfoundland, and sailed on July 19 as part of the DEW line resupply mission. This operation lasted through October 8. On November 1, she 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. She deployed to the Caribbean from August to mid-September. At the end of her assignment, she was decommissioned on September 14, 1957 and placed in the Norfolk Group of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Ashland was recommissioned on November 29, 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. 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.
USS Ashland deployed to the Caribbean on March 3, 1966 as part of the Caribbean Ready Group and conducted numerous amphibious landings, including Operation Beachtime which involved over 40 ships of the second fleet.
In April 1967, Ashland got underway for training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She touched back at home port in early June and engaged in local operations until October 3, when she sailed for Vieques.
Ashland deployed to the Mediterranean on January 3, 1968. From April 29 to May 10, she took part in NATO Exercise Dawn Patrol, which also involved French and Greek naval forces. She returned to Little Creek on May 30. On November 12, she 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, she was decommissioned on November 22, 1969. Her name was struck from the Navy list on November 25, 1969.
USS Ashland (LSD 1) earned six battle stars for her service in World War II.
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