Seaman Bryant Fossier serves as starboard watch aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 46) as the ship departs Sasebo, Japan, Aug. 13 for a patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship)

SASEBO, Japan - The dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed Sasebo Aug. 13 to join the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) amphibious ready group (ARG) on a patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

The ARG is scheduled to participate in several exercises that will provide training to help enhance security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, while continuing to advance regional partnerships with allies.

"We'll deploy to various spots around the western Pacific to do bilateral and multilateral training to further relationships with our counterpart navies and marine corps throughout the AOR," said Cmdr. John Barnett, commanding officer of Tortuga.

Approximately 400 Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are scheduled to embark onboard Tortuga along with detachments from Naval Beach Unit 7.

"This ship was built to carry Marines and to support Marines as they conduct operations ashore," said Barnett. "I think any time we get the green portion of the team onboard it's good for us and good for the Marines. It helps develop both of our expeditionary capabilities."

Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, along with Bonhomme Richard, USS Denver (LPD 9), and USS Tortuga, are forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan, and are part of Bonhomme Richard ARG, operating in the 7th fleet area of responsibility.