The U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) returned to Sasebo, Japan on Sept. 25 after completing a four-month deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
While deployed to the South Pacific, Bonhomme Richard, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), participated in the bilateral, biennial U.S.-Australia exercise Talisman Saber 2017, completed amphibious integration training (AIT), successfully certified during the 31st MEU’s certification exercise (CERTEX) and completed an amphibious maritime warfare (AMW) evaluation.
Additionally, Bonhomme Richard conducted port visits to Australia’s cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, during which many Sailors and Marines participated in community relations (COMREL) projects, including visits to children’s hospitals and care centers for underprivileged and disabled members of the local communities. Alongside the multiple COMREL events, the crew also hosted several ship tours to allow Australian allies a look into life aboard a U.S. naval amphibious vessel.
Prior to returning to Sasebo, Bonhomme Richard completed the final 31st MEU offload in White Beach, Okinawa, marking the unit’s farewell deployment aboard the ship, as Bonhomme Richard is scheduled to turn over duties in the 7th Fleet AOR with the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) in winter 2018.
The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (BHR ARG) consists of Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and USS Ashland (LSD 48). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the BHR ARG, is forward-deployed to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.