USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and USS Ashland (LSD 48) maneuver to conduct a replenishment at sea, June 5. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Ty C. Connors)

EAST CHINA SEA - USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Green Bay (LPD 20) departed Sasebo, Japan, June 3, joining the flagship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) already underway on deployment.

The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group will embark the Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and is scheduled to take part in amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX), as well as conduct other training aimed at increasing mission readiness.

AIT and CERTEX are training events focused on the ARG’s and 31st MEU’s amphibious assault capabilities, humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations and non-combatant evacuation missions.

“It is gratifying to be out at sea again and we are ready to bring back our brothers and sisters in the 31st MEU,” said Capt. Jeffrey Ward, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “We will work alongside them as they complete their certifications and, as a team, continue to maintain a strong sea presence in 7th Fleet.”

This deployment will mark the first for many junior enlisted Sailors aboard Bonhomme Richard.

“I can’t wait to finally get a chance to see the world,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Jervis Leodones. “This deployment gives me an opportunity to expand my viewpoints culturally and get as qualified as possible in my job. It’s really an exciting time to be a Sailor when your ship finally gets underway.”

Bonhomme Richard ARG is under the tactical command of embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Marvin Thompson and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.