Bonhomme Richard Departs Okinawa

Story Number: NNS161101-10Release Date: 11/1/2016 10:33:00 AM
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By Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs

WHITE BEACH, Okinawa (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) departed White Beach, Okinawa, after disembarking equipment, vehicles, and personnel of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Oct. 28-30.

In addition to the brow and ramp, landing craft air cushions (LCAC) assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 provided additional assistance transporting equipment from the ship to the beach.

"We simultaneously drove off the ship and utilized the LCACs in one last 'blue-green' operation," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Andree, well deck control leading petty officer. "Anytime we get the chance to operate as a single unit, we'll take the opportunity."

Bonhomme Richard (BHR) departed Sasebo, Japan, Aug. 6 for a scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. While deployed, Sailors and Marines worked side-by-side to enhance partnerships, maintain forward presence and increase Navy-Marine Corps integration for amphibious operations.

"The Sailors and Marines have been working hard out here, executing our mission at the tip of the spear," said Capt. Jeffrey Ward, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. "Being FDNF (Forward Deployed Naval Forces) is arduous duty, but the crew performed like true professionals. Offloading the Marines in a timely manner was another testament to the dedication and professionalism of Bonhomme Richard's Sailors."

The disembarkation marked BHR's last major blue-green evolution with the 31st MEU this year.

"Our joint ventures with the Marines have continuously been successful," said Ward. "I couldn't be more proud of the work and support Bonhomme Richard's Sailors provided to the Marines. Anytime the 31st MEU had a request, BHR Sailors were there to answer it."

During the 3-month deployment, BHR Sailors and embarked Marines participated in the U.S.-only, unilateral exercise Valiant Shield 2016 (VS16) and the annual, U.S.-Philippine bilateral exercise Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise 33 (PHIBLEX).

Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG). The Bonhomme Richard ESG consists of USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and USS Germantown (LSD 42).

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U.S. Marines aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) line up to go ashore after returning from their Fall Patrol of the Asia-Pacific region
161028-M-OP674-001 OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 28, 2016) U.S. Marines aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) line up to go ashore after returning from their Fall Patrol of the Asia-Pacific region. As the Marine Corps' only continuously forward deployed unit, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is prepared to respond to a wide range of military operations, from humanitarian assistance missions to limited combat operations, at a moment's notice. As a balanced air-ground-logistics team, the 31st MEU is ready to respond throughout the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Amy Phan)
October 31, 2016
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