USS ASHLAND (LSD-1)

                                                                      FPO NEW YORK 09501

 

14 MAR 1968

From:        Commanding Officer, USS ASHLAND (LSD-1)

To.:         Chief of Naval Operations (OP-0989)

Subj:       Command History

Encl:       (1) Chronology of Events

(2) Basic Narrative

(3) Documentary Annex

 

1.             In accordance with reference (a), enclosures (1) through (3) are forwarded.

 

EUGENE C. RUEFF

 

(The Chronology and, Basic Narrative start at 1 March 1967. Editor)

 

                                                                 CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

 

  1 March - Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.

  3 March - Left yards, ran degaussing range, anchored at LA-7 anchorage, steaming in VACAPS OP Area.

  4 March - Moored Little Creek.

14 March - Loaded ammunition at Anchorage W-2.

16 March - Swing ship to adjust magnetic compass.

17 March - Moored Little Creek

29 March - Operating VACAPS OP Area.

30 March - Moored Little Creek.

 

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10 April - Departed for training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

14 April - Arrived Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for training.  Arrival inspection held.

17 April - Commenced training.

25 April - Exercise at towing with USS ADAMS (DDG-2).

 

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  4 May - Conducted final Operational Readiness Inspection.

  5 May - Conducted in-port drills, got underway for Port Everglades, Florida.

  6 May - Conducted Full Power Run, conducted high line for training.

  7 May - Arrived Port Everglades.

  9 May - Departed Port Everglades for Little Creek.

11 May - Arrived Little Creek.

15 May - Departed Little Creek for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

19 May - Arrived Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to relieve USS LINDENWALD (LSD-6).

31 May - Departed Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for Little Creek.

 

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  4 June - Arrived Little Creek.

13 June - Underway for VACAPES OP Area.

14 June - Anchored in Lynnhaven anchorages.

15 June - Underway for VACAPES OP Area.

16 June - Moored Little Creek.

19 June - Underway for local OP Area, returned same day.

26 June - Commenced Amphibious Training.

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  7 July - Completed Amphibious Training.

10 July - Underway for local OP Area.

11 July - Moored Little Creek.

14 July - Underway for Destroyer Submarine Piers, Norfolk, Virginia.  Moored outboard USS AMPHION (AR-13) for tender availability.

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 4 August - Returned to Little Creek.

14 August - Underway for VACAPES OP Area.

16 August - Moored Little Creek.

24 August - Annual Supply Inspection Conducted.

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11 September - Underway for Davisville, Rhode Island.

13 September - Moored at Davisville, Rhode Island, loaded Seebees and proceeded   to Nomans Land  Island, Massachusetts for OPS, arrived Nomans Land Island, Massachusetts.

15 September - Underway to Davisville, Rhode Island, moored Davisville, R.I.

21 September - Underway to Nomans Land Island, Massachusetts, arrived Nomans Land Island,   Massachusetts.

22 September - Underway to Davisville, Rhode Island, moored at Davisville, R.I.

23 September - Underway from Davisville, Rhode Island, anchored at Nomans Land Island,   Massachusetts.

24 September - Underway from Nomans Land Island, Massachusetts, moored Davisville, Rhode Island.

25 September - Departed Davisville, Rhode Island for Little Creek.

26 September - Arrived Little Creek.

 

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 2 October - Underway for Onslow Beach, North Carolina.

 3 October - Anchored at Onslow Beach, North Carolina, underway for Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 7 October - Anchored at Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 8 October - Underway for Jan Juan, Puerto Rico, moored at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

10 October - Underway for Little Creek.

14 October - Moored at Little Creek.

27 October - Underway for Vieques, Puerto Rico.

30 October - Anchored at Vieques, Puerto Rico, underway for Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.

 

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 1 November - Moored at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, underway to Vieques,  Puerto Rico, anchored at Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 2 November - Underway for San Juan, Puerto Rico, moored San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 4 November - Underway to Morehead City, North Carolina.

 7 November - Moored, Morehead City, North Carolina.

 8 November - Underway to Little Creek.

 9 November - Operational Readiness Inspection, anchored at Lynnhaven Roads anchorage.

10 November - Annual Administrative Inspection.

30 November - Annual Medical Inspection.

 

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 5 December - Annual Material Inspection.

19 December - Annual Christmas Party.

28 December - Departed Little Creek to load ammunition, returned to Little Creek after loading ammunition.

 

 

 

                                                                                   1968

 

  3 January - Underway for Morehead City, North Carolina.

  4 January - Arrived Morehead City, North Carolina, embarked Marines.

  5 January - Underway for Gibraltar, joined with USS MONROVIA (APA-31), USS FREMONT (APA-44), USS                    RUSHMORE (LSD-14) and formed CTF 44.2.5.

18 January - Moored at Gibraltar.

20 January - Held turnover conference.

22 January - Underway for Almeria, Spain, detached to proceed at 61.6.1 Advance Force.

23 January - Anchored at Almeria, Spain in assigned anchorage as primary control ship, commenced series

 of turnaway landings.

25 January - Underway for Valencia, Spain.

27 January - Arrived Valencia, Spain.

 

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  3 February - Departed Valencia for Aranci Bay, Sardinia.

  6 February - Detached to proceed independently as TF 61.6.1.

  7 February - Anchored at Aranci Bay, Sardinia, commenced advance force operation.

  8 February - Commenced landing operations.

  9 February - Replenished by helo at anchor.

11 February - Underway for local operations, returned to anchorage.

12 February - Supply inspection for Ney Award was conducted.

15 February - Underway for local operations.

17 February - Anchored at Aranci Bay, Sardinia.

20 February - Underway for local operations, anchored at Aranci Bay, Sardinia.

21 February - Underway for Marseilles, France.

23 February - Replenished from USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108).

24 February - Moored at Marseilles, France.

 

EUGENE C. RUEFF

 

                                                                        BASIC NARRATIVE

 

The Dock Landing Ship  ASHLAND (LSD-1) is homeported at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia, as a member of Amphibious Squadron FOUR.  Commander Eugene C. RUEFF, 508896/1100, is her present Commanding Officer.

Although classified as a landing ship the LSD is not designed to be beached.  It is built for the purpose of transporting non-ocean-going landing craft and troops to a combat area.  It is also used for repair and maintenance of these craft in the forward area.

The ASHLAND was in Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Company shipyard until 3 March 1967.  Upon completing her yard period she got underway for the Virginia Capes Operation Area for her shake- down CRUISE.  The operations which were conducted through March prepared the ship for underway training at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On 10 April 1967 Ashland left for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and commenced refresher training on 14 April.  A commendation from the Commander in Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet was received upon completion of training.

Following the refresher training, on 5 May, ASHLAND got underway for a 3-day liberty period in Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades).  On 9 May ASHLAND left Fort Lauderdale for Little Creek and an upkeep period.  The upkeep period was cut short when she received word 15 May that she was to relieve the LINDENWALD (LSD-6) at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba which was accomplished 19 May.  ASHLAND returned to Little Creek on the 4th of June.

The period 4 to 26 June was used for local training and upkeep.  On 26 June Amphibious Refresher Training commenced.  The formal training terminated with a pre-dawn landing on 7 July.

From the completion of training ASHLAND was in upkeep status at Little Creek until 14 July when ASHLAND had a tender availability alongside the USS AMPHION (AR-13) at the Destroyer Submarine piers and Army piers.  ASHLAND received her annual Supply Inspection, 24 August with a resultant grade of OUTSTANDING.

On 11 September ASHLAND left Little Creek, for Davisville, Rhode Island, for the purpose of providing a transportation for the members of Mobile Construction Battalions 58, 53, 40 of the 21st Naval Construction Regiment for pre-Vietnam training.  The training operations was disrupted by Hurricane Doria.  At ASHLAND's request a helicopter group from Quonset Point Naval Air Station evacuated the personnel stranded on No Mans Land Island by the hurricane.


Upon completion of the operations at Davisville on 25 September ASHLAND got underway and returned to Little Creek on 26 September.

After 6 days in port for upkeep and training ASHLAND again was underway on 2 October for Onslow Beach, North Carolina to assist in transporting Marine equipment and men of the 3rd AMTRAC Battalion to Vieques, Puerto Rico for training.  Upon completion of off loading, October 8th the ship returned to Little Creek on 14 October after a 2 day stay at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

ASHLAND then returned 27 October to Vieques, via Roosevelt Roads, where 3 AVR's were delivered to the Atlantic Missile Range.  The men and equipment of the 3rd LAAM Battalion were embarked at Vieques and returned to Morehead City, North Carolina on 9 October.  The Operational Readiness Inspection was held on ASHLAND on 10 November 1967.  She then moored for the holidays at Little Creek, Virginia.

Shortly after ASHLAND's return, a busy schedule of inspections began.  These inspections commenced with the annual Administrative Inspection on 16 November.  On 30 November, the PHIBLANT Medical Officer evaluated the Medical Department during the ASHLAND's annual Medical Inspection.

On 5 December USS GRAHAM COUNTRY (LST-1176) conducted the annual Material Inspection.  The Material Inspection completed the required yearly inspections and full attention could now be given to preparation for the Mediterranean Deployment.

January 3rd, 1968 ASHLAND started her five month deployment in the Mediterranean with the following units embarked:  Assault Craft Unit 2, Detachment A; Beachmaster Unit 2, Detachment A1; Underwater Demolition Team 22-2; Mine Squadron Ten, Subdivision E24.  On 4 January she arrived at Morehead City and embarked the following Marine units and their equipment: 2nd Shore Party Battalion Land FORMED 1-68 Detachment L; 2nd Tank Battalion, 3rd Platoon, Company A; 2nd Anti-Tank Battalion, 2nd Platoon, Company A.  With everything loaded, ASHLAND got underway from anchorage and on 5 January began the long journey across the Atlantic to Gibraltar.  The following ships were in company: USS FREMONT (APA-44, USS MONROVIA (APA-31, USS ARNEB (AKA-56, and the USS RUSHMORE (LSD-14).

Upon arrival at Gibraltar on 18 January, preparations were started for the first series of turnaway landings at Almeria, Spain.  Two days after our arrival at Gibraltar the turnover conference was held and the squadron which was relieved returned to Little Creek.

On 22 January, Task Force 61.1 got underway for the landing area of Almeria, Spain.  Later that day ASHLAND was dispatched and formed unit 61.6.1, the advance force unit.  On 23 January ASHLAND commenced mine sweeping operations and prepared the beach for the landing.  The main body arrived January 23rd and a series of 4 landings was conducted before proceeding to Valencia, Spain.  ASHLAND arrived in Valencia on 27 January.

On 3 February ASHLAND got underway from Valencia to rendezvous with the other ships of TF 61.1.  On 6 February the squadron proceeded to Aranci Bay, Sardinia and arrived February 8th for 15 days of Amphibious Operations.  Here is was joined by USS WALWORTH COUNTY (LST-1164).  TG 61.6.1 was activated and ASHLAND proceed to the area of operations and anchored there on 7 February.  February 8th the remainder of the squadron arrived and the landing commenced.

The next day, February 9th the squadron was replenished by the USS SYLVANIA (AFS-2).  On 11 February the ship got underway for ISE completion of the year's competitive exercises.  The satisfactory completion of the exercises qualified ASHLAND for the Engineering "E" and the Amphibious Assault Award.  On 12 February a surprise Supply Inspection for NEY award qualifications was conducted.  At total of 1363 out of 1375 points was awarded.

During the period 15 to 20 February contingency exercises were practices.  Upon completion of backloading on 21 February, ASHLAND got underway for Marseilles, France.  While enroute she was replenished by the USS PAWCATUCK (AO-108) and completed exercises which qualified her for the Combat green "E".

The arrival of ASHLAND in Marseilles, 24 February marked the completion of a very successful year of operations and exercises.