USS Denver (LPD 9), center, and USS Tortuga (LSD 46), right, sit along the pier as USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrives in Kota Kinabalu for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship)

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia - The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) arrived in Malaysia for a scheduled port visit Oct. 22.

More than 2,800 Sailors and embarked Marines are expected to go ashore to visit the city and experience the local culture around the island.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to visit Malaysia," said Lt. Cmdr. William Muhm, a chaplain aboard Bonhomme Richard. "This port visit will give the crew a chance to observe the different culture and to take part in some morale building events."

Many Sailors and Marines will be participating in a variety of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours around the city including mountain climbing, white water rafting, scuba diving and city tours.

"The MWR tours really enhance the crew's morale by giving us time to relax, a chance to review the Malaysian history and interact with the surrounding society," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Cornelius R. Johnson. "This is my first time here and I am truly ecstatic to venture out and encounter the culture of Malaysia. I am looking forward to climbing Mt. Kinabalu, visiting the poring hot springs , the war memorial and enjoying some great cuisine."

Part of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative is to help service members manage stress and maximize personal readiness and events such as this help ensure that Sailors and Marines are given time to relax so that they can continue to work effectively.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG, commanded by Capt. Cathal S. O'Connor, is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga and amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver is currently operating in the 7th Fleet area of operations.