USS Ashland (LSD 48) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Taylor A. Elberg)

SASEBO, Japan - The forward-deployed Whidbey Island Class dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), assigned to the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed Sasebo, Japan, Jan. 26 for a routine patrol of the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

During her patrol, Ashland will embark Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

“My crew, from the most veteran Sailor down to the newest Sailor, is ready and excited to get out to sea and integrate with the 31st MEU,” said Cmdr. Daniel P. Duhan, commanding officer of Ashland. “The blue-green team will emerge from the patrol as a more cohesive unit, well versed in amphibious operations.”

Ashland’s crew spent the last few months preparing for their routine patrol and they are eager to begin training with the Marines.

“I am excited to be a part of Ashland’s crew for my first underway,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Petty Officer Elizabeth Hornbeck, a Sailor who recently reported aboard Ashland. “The Navy has prepared me to adapt to many things and I can’t wait to work alongside the Marines.”

Ashland is one of three ships that comprise the Bonhomme Richard ARG and is scheduled to meet up with amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) at a later date.