USS Ashland (LSD 48) departs U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, March 3. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Geoffrey P. Barham)

SASEBO, Japan - Amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) departed its forward-deployed base of Sasebo, Japan, March 3 to join ships of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG) at sea.

Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and Ashland, together with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, will conduct a routine patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"During this patrol, we are looking forward to the U.S. Navy/Marine joint effort to preserve amphibious readiness and increase operational capabilities in the Pacific," said Capt. George Doyon, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11.

The three ships of Amphibious Squadron 11 will make up the amphibious core of the BHR ESG, with potential for cruiser-destroyer assets to integrate when needed.

Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo earlier this week. Green Bay departed mid-January and recently completed exercise Cobra Gold.

While on patrol, the BHR ESG and 31st MEU will conduct U.S. Navy-U.S. Marine integration training and participate in bilateral training with regional counterparts.