PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated its 17th birthday Aug 15. Bonhomme Richard is the third commissioned ship to bear the storied name USS Bonhomme Richard.
The ship is named after the aged revolutionary war ship on loan from the King of France which Captain John Paul Jones sailed into history.
The battle between the USS Bonhomme Richard and the HMS Serapis will always be remembered in U.S. Naval history. The epic four-hour battle, later christened The Battle of Flamborough Head, marked a turning point in the American Revolutionary War. Even though the original ship itself did not survive the bloody fray, the name "Bonhomme Richard" and its famous captain John Paul Jones took their place in American and Naval history.
That name and its history lives on today in the modern forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
Today's modern Bonhomme Richard was commissioned August 15th, 1998, in Pensacola, Florida. A commissioning is when a ship formally becomes a part of the Navy and can be rightly called the ceremonial "birth" of the ship.
U.S. Representative John P. Murtha delivered the principal commissioning address and his wife, Mrs. Joyce Murtha served as Ship's Sponsor.
Upon commissioning, she gave the traditional orders to, "Man our ship and bring her to life!" Since then, countless Sailors have served to bring Bonhomme Richard to life and the ship has played significant roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom, provided amphibious and air support in the Arabian Gulf and has provided humanitarian aid and security throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions.
The crew of Bonhomme Richard marked the day with a special birthday schedule. The program was hosted by the ships' Ney award-winning food service team and the Chief Selectees, and included a steak and crab lunch for the crew, a cake cutting ceremony and a movie night.
"Today we are celebrating two of the greatest characteristics of the modern Bonhomme Richard," said Bonhomme Richard's Command Master Chief Carlton Duncan. "We are celebrating her crew, and her history. It is a privilege to be a part of both."
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, visit www.navy.mil/local/cpr11/.