OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrived at White Beach, Okinawa, March 15 to embark the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as part of a regularly scheduled patrol in the Indo-Pacific.
Since deploying from Sasebo on March 8, the Ashland has been conducting an amphibious warfare (AMW) certification, which includes several events that consist of small boat operations, ballasting and de-ballasting, cargo handling, crane operations, and a wide range of amphibious landing craft drills. Ashland completed the certification just before arriving to Okinawa and is ready to begin executing amphibious operations with the MEU.
"The crew is doing a great job making sure that we are operationally ready for this patrol," said Cmdr. Steven H. Wasson, Ashland's commanding officer. "Conducting this certification shows that the Ashland and her crew are safe, proficient, and capable when we are out at sea."
Once embarked, MEU ground and logistics elements will launch off Ashland to train for missions such as disaster relief and amphibious raids, building proficiency as a Navy-Marine Corps team.
Ashland crew is looking forward to being reunited with their Marine Corps teammates.
"I enjoy working with the Marines when we are on patrol," said Seaman Jessica Garcia. "We work with their combat cargo team often. They are out on the deck plates as much as we are, checking and maintaining equipment, so we work well together to get the job done."
Ashland, assigned to the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group, is on a routine patrol operating in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.