Officially designated as a Landing Ship, Dock (LSD), ASHLAND accomplishes her mission throughout he use of a well deck which is flooded to recover and launch landing craft. After leaving the ship, the assault craft are directed towards the objective by the ship's Combat Information Center (CIC). A 440-ft well deck, a flight deck able to land and launch CH-53E helicopters, the Navy's latest diesel propulsion and engineering technology, advanced communication and combat systems, 20- and 60-ton cranes, expanded repair facilities, complete medical and dental facilities, and troop berthing accommodations for embarked Marines combine to place ASHLAND on the leading edge of amphibious warfare in the 21st century.
USS ASHLAND (LSD 48) is the eighth and last of the WHIDBEY ISLAND (LSD 41) class ships to be commissioned and the second U.S. Navy ship to bear that name. The first was USS ASHLAND LSD-1 and was commissioned June 22 1942.
LSD-48's keel was laid on 04 April 1989 at New Orleans, Louisiana by Avondale Industries Incorporated. Launching and christening took place on 11 November 1989 with Mrs. Kathleen Foley, wife of ADM S. R. Foley, Jr. (Ret.), as ship's sponsor. USS ASHLAND (LSD 48) was commissioned on 09 May 1992 at New Orleans, Louisiana.