Schedule of Events

0900 Aircraft overhead commencing a Tender Controlled Instrument Approach to a landing in the seadrome.
0930 Aircraft landing. Taxi to vicinity of "U" Dock for Docking
0940 Docking demonstration commences.
0945 Second aircraft commences practice instrument approaches to seadrome. Upon completion of docking demonstration, second aircraft lands for refueling exercise from refueling buoy.
1130 - 1300 Buffet lunch served in wardroom.
1330 First Aircraft launched from "U" Dock.
1345 First Aircraft Airborne for home base.
1400 Second Aircraft cast off refueling buoy.
1415 Second Aircraft airborne for home base.
1430 Color movie in the wardroom showing aircraft recovery and launching aboard ship.

Note 1. Event times are necessarily flexible and subject to change.
Note 2. A commentary of events will be provided by a Public Address System. The functions of the various boats will be narrated at appropriate times during events.


Various ship's spaces have been converted for operations peculiar to aircraft support in addition to their normal functions. Items necessary for air support have been obtained on a temporary basis or else fabricated on board. -  Below is a partial list of such items and spaces and their locations in various parts of the ship. -  An attempt has been made toward functional grouping of operating spaces, support spaces, and maintenance work spaces. -  It is hoped that this guide will be helpful in your tour of the ship.  -  Items which are not completely self explanatory have been numbered and labeled in the same manner as shown below:

1.  Control Tower  -  On 04 Level Navigation Bridge

2.   Instrument Approach Facilities  -  On 03 Level CIC

3.   Aerology   -  On 04 Level Flag Plot

4.   Aircraft Communications  -  On 03 Level Radio Control


5.  Aviation Supply (fixed)   -  On Half Deck

6.  Aviation Supply (mobile)   -  On Half Deck

7.   Mobile Electronics Shop  -  On Half Deck

8.   Mobile Aviation Fuel & Oil  -  In Well Deck

9.   Engine Work Stands  -  In Well Deck

10. Sealed Bin Units   -  In Well Deck

Water Support Equipment

Crash Boat  -   PBB Number 4

Salvage Boat  -  PBB Number 3

Plane Personnel & Rearming Boats  -   PBB's Number 1 and 2

Aircraft Refueler   -   Bowser Boat Number 5

Rubber "C" Dock  -   Secured to Port

Refueling and Maintenance Buoys  -   Moored

Several items set forth above were obtained on a no cost basis to demonstrate the versatility of an LSD as a tender, i.e., the Aviation Supply Vans were obtained from U.S. Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Salvage.  -  These vans although not ideal, demonstrate the mobility concept for both landplane and seaplane support.

The evaluation of the ASHLAND as a seaplane support vessel has been rather brief with the operational phase consisting of recovering and launching seaplanes under varying conditions employing different methods to accomplish this task.

Methods used have been the conventional beaching gear for P5M aircraft, the R3Y beaching vehicle, and a fixed crane method. Planes have been brought aboard nose first as well as tail first.  - Dry-docking has been accomplished with the ship underway and also at night.

One of the highlights of the evaluation was a trip to Baltimore in the month of February. -  The trip was particularly valuable in that it permitted an interchange of visits between the ship and the Martin plan, and those exchanges provided an opportunity for Martin engineers and the ship's personnel to observe and discuss areas of mutual interest.  - On Monday, February 18th an actual seaplane recovery and launching was conducted in the upper Chesapeake Bay for about eight Martin engineers and Navy Officials.

Tentative plans were made for a three week deployment of ASHLAND and four P5M aircraft to Newfoundland in April at which time the ship was to perform actual tender functions.  -  The ship was in the process of getting the necessary supplies and equipment aboard when circumstances necessitated the cancellation of the operation.

Today's demonstration and displays show in part some of the preparations made for the Newfoundland deployment.  -  Although few aviation supplies were aboard, sufficient equipment has been obtained to enable the ship to perform all the functions of a seaplane tender. -  The major items of equipment are listed in another section of this brochure.  -  It is to be emphasized that practically no changes have been made in the vessel structurally, with the exception of the temporary removal of the helicopter deck, when formed the after forty per cent of the superdeck.  -  The water barrier, half deck and ramps are standard equipment for an LSD and lend to various configurations of the ship.  -  Upon transfer of ASHLAND to COMAIRLANT, ship's force reinstalled the water barrier, the ramps, and the half deck, for only the after 130 feet of the well deck is needed for dry-docking of aircraft.

The design of an LSD lends itself readily to adaptation as a seaplane tender using either built-in permanent spaces, or the mobile van concept could be exploited to the fullest.  -  The large area provided by the well deck area is actually used for bringing aboard of a seaplane, the other two thirds is available for any desired purpose.  -  This area could be compartmentalized and thus adapted to any type of installation such as shops, offices, berthing areas, etc.

The LSD has an extensive potential capability of providing mobile support to land based aircraft. This is predicated on the large area available in an LSD for the transportation and handling of mobile and van type support equipment in the well deck area along with the flexibility provided by using alternate configurations of the half deck and superdeck.

With limited time and funds ASHLAND has been successful in providing necessary equipment and facilities. The supply storeroom and electronics van located on the half deck offer a contrast in that they are examples of two ways the ship could adapt to seaplane tender functions. -  The supply storeroom was built by ship's force and although obviously not a permanent structure, an idea can be obtained of what uses the well deck and half deck areas can be used for in the way of compartmentation or fixed installations.  -  The van concept can be readily envisaged, for an LSD was designed to carry all types of mobile equipment for combat troops, and the multi-deck and ramp arrangement lends itself to the use of this type of equipment.

Berthing and messing facilities for approximately 45 officers and 450 men are presently available in the ship, for an LSD was originally designed to carry marines or army personnel in an amphibious operation.  -  All "troop" spaces and facilities are available for squadron use.

Much of the equipment on board has been obtained on a temporary basis.  -  However by observing the various trucks, cranes, van, work stands and other mobile equipment, a further idea can be obtained of the flexibility that is inherent in the design of an LSD. -  Although there are several pieces of mobile equipment aboard, only a part of the useable space has been used to accommodate this support equipment.

The present work with the rubber U-Dock is the first experiment of this vessel with that piece of equipment. This is also the first experience with the refueling buoy, and also the first time the ship has engaged in a tender controlled approach of a seaplane. These operations are a part of the overall evaluation of the ASHLAND as a seaplane support vessel and the results obtained will be included in a report to be made at the end of operations.

The ship's officers will be happy to try and answer an questions concerning the ship, it's equipment and operations concluded.

Commanding Officer:   -   CDR F. W. Brown, Jr. USN
Executive Officer:   -   CDR E. E. Bracken, USNR
Air Officer:   -   LCDR D. E. Brunner, USN
Operating Officer:   -   LCDR R. R. Zseltvay, USN
Chief Engineer:   -   LCDR S. Packer, USNR
Aviation Maintenance:   -   LT. D. A. Heberling, USN
Supply Officer:   -   LT (SC) C. P. Dellinger, USN
First Lieutenant:   -   LTJG T. S. McCaffrey, USN
Navigator:   -   LTJG J. R. Hill, USN
Disbursing Officer:   -   LTJG R. Failmezger, USNR
Ship's Boatswain:   -   CHIEF BOSN C. P. Fraley, USN
Main Propulsion Asst:   -   CHIEF MACHINIST J. Montgomery, USN
Ballasting Officer:   -   CARPENTER F. Hutchision, USN
Electrical Officer:   -   ELECTRICIAN W. A. Berglund, USN


Length Overall - 458 Feet
Length of Well Deck - 394 Feet
Beam - 72 Feet
Width of Well Deck - 44 Feet
Speed - 15 Knots
Displacement 7,930 Tons


USS ASHLAND was built by the Moore Dry Dock Company at Oakland, California where her keel was laid on 22 June 1942, and commissioning was on 16 June 1943. ASHLAND was the first LANDING SHIP DOCK built and the largest type of vessel built specifically for amphibious warfare. As a class, these ships are named for the estates of early American patriots, or are named after certain historical locations.

Although classified as a landing ship, the LSD is not designed to be beached, but is built for the purpose of transporting non-ocean going landing craft to the combat area, and repair and maintenance of these craft in the forward area. Equipped with a machine shop, carpenter ship and ship fitter shop, the LSD is capable of keeping considerable amphibious craft in repair.

USS ASHLAND earned seven Battle Stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area Service Medal for participating in the following operations: 1 Star - Gilbert Island Operation - 13 November to 8 December 1943
1 Star - Marshall Islands Operation - Occupation of Kwajalein, Majuro, and Eniwetok Atolls - 29 January to 2 March 1944
1 Star - Mariana's Operation: - Capture and Occupation of Saipan - 11 June to 10 August 1944
1 Star - Tinian Capture and Occupation - 24 July to 1 August 1944
1 Star - Leyte Operation - Leyte Landings - 10 October to 29 November 1944
1 Star - Luzon Operation - Lingayen Gulf Landing - 4 - 18 January 1945
1 Star - Iwo Jima Operation - Assault and Occupation of Iwo Jima - 15 February to 16 March 1945

She also earned the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Pacific for the periods of 2 September October 1945; and 31 December 1945 to 5 January 1946.

Upon returning to the United States after her war service was completed, USS ASHLAND was placed out of commission in San Diego in March 1946.

Due to the outbreak of the Korean War, the ASHLAND was again placed in commission in February 1951, but was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet.

In June 1952, ASHLAND made her first trip to the Arctic and has been an annual visitor each year since that date.

A brief return to the Pacific was made in 1953 when ASHLAND transported two small French Submarines to San Diego, transiting the Panama Canal on both legs of the trip.

On 7 September 1954, ASHLAND left for a tour of duty with the sixth Fleet, North Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Area. On return to the United States on 30 January 1955, ASHLAND continued on her normal routine of Amphibious exercises and Reserve Cruises. From September to December 1955, the ship again participated in SU NEC operations as well as taking part with civilian scientists in the first part of the International Geophysical year. ASHLAND conducted a series of balloon and rocket launchings, studying cosmic radiation.

Upon return from the Arctic tour, the ship entered a shipyard for certain alterations dealing with ice strengthening and ice sheathing to prepare for future Arctic assignments

From April 1956 through the early part of September 1956, ASHLAND took part in a one month's amphibious exercise at Vieques, Puerto Rico, and then worked about six weeks on Project CEASAR. Following project CEASAR, ASHLAND made a Reserve Cruise to Bermuda and on the return trip carried a huge Martin Mariner sea plane in the well deck.

After the Bermuda trip, immediate preparations were made for the 1956. Arctic operations. On 19 July 1956 the 608th Transportation Company (Terminal Service) reported aboard with one LCU and two LCM's loaded with cranes and tractors as well as special cargo handling equipment. Another LCU and four more LCM's belonging o the company were picked up a few days later at Argentia, Newfoundland and the ASHLAND and her crew and troops were ready for the 1956 DEW LINE and SUNEC re-supply mission. This operation lasted form 19 July through 8 October 1956. During the entire period 210 Army personnel lived aboard in addition to our officers and crew of 265. At times during the operation there were almost 500 military and civilian personnel aboard.

On 1 November 1956 ASHLAND was transferred to COMAIRLAND for a six-months period for evaluation as a seaplane tender. Only a minimum number of structural changes were made in the ship so as to adapt to the dry-docking of aircraft. These changes were in the temporary removal of a part of the superdeck and the removal of a false deck (in the form of 5' x 7' x 7' standard pontoon section) was installed in the well deck to provide necessary height in the well deck so that aircraft wings could clear the wingwall obstructions both during and after ballasting operations. The pontoon section provide a false deck five feet above the level of the actual well deck. The area now occupied by the false deck could be adapted to the storage of fuels or equipment.

The evaluation period is scheduled to end in Mary.  -  On 19 April the ship has been assigned a tender period for the reinstallation of the helicopter deck, and then in May the ASHLAND has been ordered to Orange, Texas for inactivation. -  (This did not occur)

--the above was an eight page hand-out, given to visitors and officials on the day of the demontrations. Don Michaud AA 1956-57 was on the Martin 5PM crew. -  He offered his copy of the hand-out for copying.