SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived in Sasebo, Japan, April 17, marking the ship's final time in Sasebo as it prepares for a homeport shift to San Diego.
Forward-deployed to Japan since 2012, Bonhomme Richard has called Sasebo home for six years and has served as the flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, providing a rapid-response capability for the 7th Fleet area of operations.
"We would like to thank the people of Sasebo for their hospitality and friendship during our time here," said Capt. Larry McCullen, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer. "Living and working alongside our Japanese allies has been an experience I will never forget, and that the Sailors of Bonhomme Richard can be justifiably proud of now and when they look back at their time in 7th Fleet. Our mission together during the past six years has allowed our nations to maintain security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and has strengthened our Pacific partnerships on land and at sea."
Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Karen Au, from Diamond Bar, Calif., has been serving aboard Bonhomme Richard for more than two years, and has been an active participant during several of Bonhomme Richard's community relations events.
"I'm definitely going to miss the hospitality of the people here in Sasebo," said Au. "They really put the community before themselves and they're very helpful."
The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) will replace Bonhomme Richard as 7th Fleet's forward-deployed amphibious assault ship.
Bonhomme Richard has been on a regularly scheduled patrol since January and recently conducted a port visit in Okinawa, where the ship took part in White Beach Festival 2018, April 14-15.
Bonhomme Richard is operating in the Indo-Pacific region as part of a regularly scheduled patrol and provides a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster.
For more news from USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd6/.