ABOARD USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) cut short its port visit to Guam Dec. 28 and set sail for South Asia to provide humanitarian assistance to the disaster stricken region.
Bonhomme Richard will join several other Navy ships in the area or en route after an earthquake followed by a massive tsunami paralyzed the region Dec. 26.
"This is one of our missions, and we are ready to do our part," said Capt. J. Scott Jones, commanding officer of the San Diego-based ship. "Our condolences and hearts go out to the victims of the earthquake and tsunamis. We are eager to lend them a hand and mitigate suffering."
Along with combat operations, maritime interdiction operations, non-combatant evacuations, and a variety of other missions, Bonhomme Richard and her embarked Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (Special Operations Capable) trained for humanitarian assistance operations as recently as November during their Joint Task Force Exercise.
In addition to the ship's embarked aircraft and watercraft capable of delivering desperately needed supplies ashore, the ship has a top-notch medical staff and the ability to produce vast quantities of fresh water.
"With our ship's multiple capabilities, we are uniquely equipped to handle humanitarian operations like this one," Jones said.
In preparation for the upcoming mission, Bonhomme Richard's crew loaded more than 300 palettes of supplies during the ship's eight-hour port stop in Guam. The ship also conducted flight operations in port to deliver supplies to USS Duluth (LPD 6), anchored in the harbor.
Bonhomme Richard is currently deployed as the flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group 5, a combined expeditionary armada comprised of Navy ships and a submarine, the 15th MEU and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.
For related news on Navy tsunami relief operations, visit the Focus on Tsunami Relief Operations page at www.navy.mil/local/tsunami.
For related news, visit the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/lhd6.