Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Ashland II (LSD-48)


Historic site in Kentucky; named for the home of Henry Clay, which is located in Lexington, Ky. It was designed by Benjamin H. Latrobe who rebuilt the Capitol in Washington D.C. after it was burned by the British during the War of 1812. The name Ashland and Henry Clay are synonymous with determination. Ashland is a Federal-Italianate style home that has significant historical significance as a 19th century mansion. Henry Clay was a prominent lawyer and politician from Kentucky in the 1800’s and a major influence on Abraham Lincoln. Henry Clay played a prominent role in the War of 1812 and was instrumental in the development of the pre-Civil War United States. This is the second ship to bear this name. The first was LSD-1 which was commissioned in 1943 and earned seven battle stars for her service in World War II. She was decommissioned on 22 November 1969 and her name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 25 November 1969.


(LSD-48: displacement 11,149 (light) 15,883 (full); length 610’; beam 84’; draft 20’; speed 20+ knots; complement 419, troop capacity 402 (504 surge); armament 2 25mm MK 38 Machine Guns, 2 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts, 6 .50 cal. machine guns; 2 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Mounts; 2 Landing Craft, Air Cushion; flight deck for 2 rotary-wing aircraft; class Whidbey Island).

Ashland (LSD-48) was laid down 4 April 1988 at Avondale Shipbuilding, New Orleans, La.; launched on 11 November 1989; sponsored by Mrs. Kathleen Foley, wife of Admiral Sylvester R. Foley, Jr., USN (Retired); commissioned at New Orleans on 9 May 1992, Cdr. Douglas W. Keith in command.

48-Ashland- Coat of Arms

Red, white, and blue are the national colors. Dark blue and gold symbolize the sea of excellence. The stars commemorate the SEVEN battle stars awarded for the World War II service of the previous Ashland (LSD-1). The wavy division of the shield highlights the shoreline while the chevron simulates the prow of a ship, alluding to the dock landing ship's theater of operations and amphibious mission of delivering forces ashore. The pale vertical bar suggests the numeral "I," honoring the previous Ashland's historic role as the first ship in the LSD-class. The Mameluke sword together with the gold palm on the red background suggest the Marine force and underscores cooperation and military preparedness.


The bald eagle symbolizes the distinguished American statesman, Henry Clay, and his vital magisterial role in both the United States Congress and the development of our country. LSD-48 is named in honor of Ashland, the Kentucky estate of Henry Clay. Our national bird embodies the tenets of liberty and freedom with majesty and strength. The wreath of laurel conveys honor and achievement.



Ashland- Christening
Ashland’s sponsor, Kathleen Foley christens the ship at Avondale Shipbuilding in New Orleans on 11 November 1989. (Avondale Industries, Incorporated, Photograph Number 89-11-1883 donated to the U.S. Navy).
Ashland- Launching
Ashland’s launch on 11 November 1989. (Avondale Industries, Incorporated, Photograph Number 89-11-1884 donated to the U.S. Navy).

On 19 August 2005 Ashland was at Aqaba, Jordan with amphibious assault ship Kearsarge (LHD-3) when they were targeted by three Katyusha rockets fired from a warehouse close to the port. Neither ship was hit and there were no U.S. casualties, but there were two Jordanian casualties, one killed and one wounded.

On 10 April 2010 around 0500 Ashland was fired upon by a skiff manned by suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, approximately 330 nautical miles off the coast of Djibouti. During the attack, Ashland received small arms fire on the port side from the six-man crew of suspected pirates. In accordance with her rules of engagement, Ashland returned fire. She fired two rounds at the skiff from her MK-38 Mod 2, 25mm gun. The suspected pirates abandoned the skiff after it caught fire. Ashland then deployed her rigid-hull inflatable boats to assist the pirates who were in the water. Once it was verified that the pirates were no longer armed, all six were brought on board Ashland where they received medical care. There was no apparent damage to Ashland, and there were no injuries to any members of her crew.

Ashland-burnt pirate skiff-10Apr2010-100410-N-6110S-263
The burned out hull of the pirate skiff drifts near Ashland, 10 April 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky, U.S. Navy Photograph 100410-N-6110S-263, Photos).

On 7-8 November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines and caused large-scale damage. In response the United States’ military response became known as Operation Damayan. Ashland was part of that effort. Along with Germantown (LSD-42) and embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Naval Beach Unit 7, and Commander Amphibious Squadron 11, Ashland arrived in Leyte Gulf on 20 November. The ships and 31st MEU brought equipment capable of clearing debris and creating and transporting potable water. They also brought food and other supplies to remote areas still in need of assistance. She also recovered, refueled, and launched helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys delivering supplies ashore. Operation Damayan was stood down on 2 December.

Ashland-MV-22 Osprey takes off-20Nov2013-131120-N-ZZ999-308
An Osprey takes off from Ashland as part of the Operation Damayan relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan, 22 November 2013 (Chief Mass Communication Specialist Allen Onstott, U.S. Navy Photograph 131120-N-ZZ999-308, Photos).

On 2-3 August 2015 Typhoon Soudelor devastated the island of Saipan. Ashland, with embarked units from the 31st MEU departed Guam on 7 August and arrived at Saipan. Ashland completed her disaster relief mission on Saipan on 22 August 2015.

Ashland- LARC launch off Saipan- 13Aug2015-150813-N-KM939-243
Sailors attached to Naval Beach Unit 7, embarked on board Ashland launch the lighter amphibious resupply cargo vehicle (LARC-V) out of the well deck during disaster relief efforts after Typhoon Soudelor, 13 August 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David A. Cox, U.S. Navy Photograph 150813-N-KM939-243, Photos).

Awards, Citations, and Campaign Ribbons:

Combat Action Ribbon (19AUG2005)

Navy Unit Commendation (2)
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

Navy Battle "E" Ribbon (2)

National Defense Service Medal (2)
Armed Forces Service Medal (1-Operation Sharpe Edge, Liberia, 1-Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti, 1-Operation Restore Hope, Somalia)

Southwest Asia Campaign Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal


Detailed history pending.

Christopher B. Havern Sr.

20 October 2015

Published: Thu Mar 10 12:45:55 EST 2016