USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) departs Fleet Activities Sasebo, Feb. 17. (U.S. Navy photo/MCSN Raymond D. Diaz III)

SASEBO, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed Feb. 17 for its patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsiblity.

Bonhomme Richard is scheduled to conduct joint force operations and training with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"The crew of Bonhomme Richard has demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and dedication to duty in getting the ship ready for this patrol; and we couldn't have done it without the great support of Ship Repair Facility Sasebo," said Capt. Joey Tynch, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer. "We are ready to get out there, execute our mission safely and effectively, and demonstrate the diverse capabilities of Bonhomme Richard."

This deployment will also mark the first time many junior enlisted Sailors will get underway for a full deployment aboard Bonhomme Richard.

"I'm excited because this underway will mark the first time I've had the opportunity to do my job in a deployed environment," said Quartermaster Seaman James Branighan. "I can't wait to get rolling and begin earning my qualifications."

Bonhomme Richard is one of three ships from the Bonhomme Richard ARG and will meet up with USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Ashland (LSD 48) at a later date.

Bonhomme Richard ARG, commanded by Capt. Heidi Agle, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11, reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.