USS BONHOMME RICHARD (NNS) -- The San Diego-based amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) (BHR) flew more than 150,000 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies and four International Red Cross workers aboard the ship Jan. 5.
The ship will soon be distributing humanitarian aid to tsunami victims in the most inaccessible areas of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
"This is a great place to be right now, just to see it all come together," said BHR's Commanding Officer Capt. J. Scott Jones. "Our crew always trains hard and is ready to do any mission assigned, but helping people just brings something extra special to it."
In preparation for humanitarian assistance operations, BHR has been flying pallets of international relief supplies stored ashore in Sumatra to the ship with helicopters assigned to 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) and Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11, Det. 4.
According to Jones, BHR's medical department is also getting ready for humanitarian operations, and preparing Sailors and Marines for missions ashore by updating their immunizations and distributing malaria medication. They also are preparing humanitarian medical assistance kits for distribution to the affected areas.
In addition to pallets of food, medicine and bottled water, BHR is using its desalinization plants to produce more than 30,000 gallons of fresh water per day. BHR Sailors and Marines even volunteered to put the water into 1,000 five-gallon containers.
Jones said Bonhomme Richard is playing a critical role in this joint, multinational relief effort to mitigate the suffering of the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in the last century.
"We've been working with all four services on this operation and a coalition of nations, including the Indians, French, Japanese, Spanish and Malaysians," said Jones. "We're all working together to help out here."
Bonhomme Richard is currently deployed as the flagship for Expeditionary Strike Group 5, conducting humanitarian relief operations off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
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.