Bonhomme Richard, 31st MEU Depart Okinawa, Japan for Patrol

by USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs
U.S. Navy

OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) departed White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, after embarking personnel, equipment, and supplies of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), March 8.

Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU are underway for a routine patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"It's good to have the Marines of the 31st MEU back aboard," said Capt. Jeffrey Ward, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. "Now that we have the LCACs (landing craft air cushion) in the well deck, the aircraft on the flight deck, and the Marines embarked, it feels like we have the whole team back together. I'm really looking forward to seeing the great things our Sailors and Marines will accomplish during this underway."

Although the ship will also conduct unit-level certifications, the deployment will focus on amphibious integrated training (AIT) followed by a certification exercise (CERTEX) while conducting exchanges with allies and regional partners across a range of mission sets.

"This patrol is an excellent opportunity to refine our crises response capabilities and further our partnership with Bonhomme Richard and Amphibious Squadron 11," said Col. Tye Wallace, commanding officer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. "We are looking forward to the patrol, and I know we will return as a stronger Navy-Marine Corps team.

Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU are scheduled to conduct a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG), which also includes amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).

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