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Ashland Returns Home to NAB Little Creek

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070521-04
Release Date: 5/21/2007 9:43:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kieshia Savage, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Atlantic

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- More than 350 Sailors aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) returned home May 16 to Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek after a six-month deployment.

Instead of being part of a strike group they acted as an afloat staging base to support sustained combat operations from sea, making the ship’s primary mission a little different from past deployments.

“Normally when the Ashland deploys it goes out with a couple hundred Marines and their landing craft,” said Cmdr. Jeff Ward, Ashland’s commanding officer. “We had a couple landing crafts, but since we didn’t have the Marines on this deployment we had a lot of space to bring on different forces, helicopters and both U.S. military and coalition forces to act from our ship.”

After transiting across the Atlantic, Ashland made a port visit to Rota, Spain, marking the start of a variety of missions.

“Amongst the many missions, crew members provided support for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group by conducting maritime security operations in support of coalition tasking off the coast of Somalia,” said Ward.

Before returning home, the ship made one last port visit to Souda Bay, Crete and a quick stop in Rota to refuel.

“I’m happy to be home,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class(SW) Raul Reuben as he held his son for the first time. “He was born on Christmas day and this is the best gift I could ever receive.”

Ward said the hard work of the Sailors made this deployment a success.

“I think the ship came back looking as good, if not better, then when it left Little Creek,” he added. “The crew did a fantastic job with all the missions.”

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