Quartermaster Seaman Rhalina Cubitt takes a bearing aboard USS Green Bay (LPD 20) as the ship departs Fleet Activities Sasebo, Aug. 8. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Patrick Dionne)

EAST CHINA SEA - The final ship of the forward-deployed Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) departed Sasebo, Japan, for a routine patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, Aug. 10.

While on patrol, the Bonhomme Richard ESG and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will conduct a series of theater security cooperation engagements and exercises in order to strengthen ties and increase interoperability with allies and partners in the region.

"Our amphibious forces train to operate where and when they are needed," said Capt. Ed Thompson, commander, Amphibious Squadron 11. "I'm very proud of the way our commanding officers and their crews prepared for this deployment through extensive training and maintenance periods."

Ships of the ESG will conduct unit-level training and then embark Marines of the 31st MEU to further train and certify in the full range of ESG-MEU mission sets.

After naval integration is complete, the ESG-MEU is scheduled to sail throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and take part in various exercises and exchanges with regional partners and allies across a wide range of mission sets.

The Bonhomme Richard ESG patrol coincides with operations of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which is in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region after serving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The Boxer ARG has been conducting exchanges with partners such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka since arriving in 7th Fleet.

The Bonhomme Richard ESG consists of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42).