160605-M-MO883-310 SULU SEA (June 5, 2016) The forward-deployed Whidbey Island Class dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) cruises the Sulu Sea while conducting a formation exercise with the USS Strethem (DDG 63) and BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF 15) in support of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. CARAT is a series of annual, bilateral maritime exercises between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations to include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste. The Ashland is assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet.(U.S. Navy photo by Lance Cpl. Carl King Jr/Released)
USS Ashland Departs from Sasebo for Patrol

SASEBO, Japan -- The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (BHR ARG), departed Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, March 3.

Ashland will work alongside several amphibious ships assigned to Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to conduct a routine patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as a forward-capability for any type of contingency.

“It’s great to be underway again and further continue our mission overseas,” said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, commanding officer of Ashland. “Our crew is ready for the tasks ahead and looks forward to training alongside our Marine Corps counterparts.”

Ashland is capable of transporting Marines and their equipment ashore and launch and reinforce assault landing craft and helicopters during amphibious operations.

The BHR ARG consists of the flagship, amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and Ashland.

On patrol, PHIBRON 11 will conduct Navy – Marine Corps integration training and participate in bilateral training with regional counterparts in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Ashland has been forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, since June 2013, in support of maritime security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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