USS Ashland (LSD 48) departs Fleet Activities Sasebo, May 26. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jordan Crouch)

SASEBO, Japan The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) departed its forward-deployed base of Sasebo, Japan, for a routine patrol on May 26.

Ashland and other amphibious ships of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group will embark their forward-deployed Marine counterparts, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), to conduct operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

While on patrol, Ashland and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit will provide a ready-response capability any type of contingency and work to enhance interoperability with partners and allies.

“My Sailors have been working hard, preparing and training for this upcoming patrol,” said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, commanding officer of Ashland. “The crew is ready to team up with our Marine Corps counterparts for another exciting patrol where we will strengthen bilateral relationships while working with our allies at sea.”

As an amphibious dock landing ship, Ashland will host approximately 400 Marines and a mix of landing craft air cushions (LCACs), landing craft utilities (LCUs), and amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs).

Ashland has been forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, since June 2013.

Ashland is assigned under Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward- deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.