Australian media interview Colonel John E. Merna, commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit; Capt. Cathal O'Connor, the commander of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11; and Capt. Daniel Dusek, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) following the ship's arrival in Brisbane for a port visit, July 9. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Matthew Dickinson)

BRISBANE, Australia - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Brisbane, Australia, July 9 for a port visit.

The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is in Australia to participate in the biennial combined-joint exercise Talisman Saber.

During the visit Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines will participate in various community service projects and sporting events, as well as enjoy the sites and hospitality of this city of two million people located in the Southeastern part of Queensland.

"Australia has long been a favorite port visit for American Sailors and Marines," said USS Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Dusek. "This visit provides the opportunity to showcase this fine ship to one of our closest allies, and to demonstrate the United States commitment to the region."

While in port, Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU will conduct a bio-security inspection to ensure they are operating in an environmentally responsible manner and in full accordance with Australian laws.

The inspection is the second of a two-part inspection that entails full accountability for all food items, soil, bacteria, plant life and any other organisms that could damage the Australian ecosystem. The first part of the inspection took place in Okinawa, Japan prior to Bonhomme Richard's departure.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O'Connor, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.