APRA HARBOR, Guam - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Guam, Aug. 29, as part of a scheduled voyage repair availability (VRAV).
The VRAV comes as Ashland, forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, fulfills a multi-month deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The ship will undergo important upkeep and repair work made possible by Guam’s facilities and ship support personnel.
Ashland and other ships of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG), recently supported the 31st MEU’s periodic certification exercise (CERTEX) off the coast of Australia. CERTEX provided an opportunity to practice the full range of 31st MEU capability from crisis response to non-combatant evacuation operations.
In addition to the VRAV, Ashland will conduct shipboard training and interact with the community through scheduled service projects.
“We are grateful to be in Guam and take advantage of time to get this ship in optimal condition,” said Cmdr. Patrick German, Ashland executive officer. “Guam is a great location for ship repairs. They have the facilities, manpower and expertise that are always available abroad.”
A mid-deployment VRAV is commonly scheduled to allow U.S. naval vessels to accomplish repairs and maintenance in their homeport, but for vessels overseas, a U.S. Naval Base can present an ideal location for ship repair.
“During long deployments like this one, it is important to maintain the ships current condition of readiness,” said Lt. Cheng Tao, operations officer for Ashland. “We will coordinate with civilians and contractors on shore in order to accomplish our maintenance goals.”
Along with ship repairs, Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to participate in a community relation project where they will assist in maintaining a facility for girls that will provide a safe, clean, and fun environment for the local youth,
“The ship was here two years ago and we had a really great experience with the locals,” said Lt. Stephan Merlin, command chaplain, “Our hosts are gracious and engaging, and our Sailors and Marines look forward to these opportunities.”
Ashland is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.