USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) approaches the pier at White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, April 6. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Jesse Marquez Magallanes)

OKINAWA, Japan - The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived in White Beach, Okinawa, to disembark 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) equipment, vehicles and personnel, April 6.

Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo, Japan, for a regularly-scheduled patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations, Feb. 27. During the patrol, Bonhomme Richard and the 31st MEU completed amphibious integrated training (AIT) and a certification exercise (CERTEX).

“I continue to be amazed by the professionalism and determination of our blue-green team,” said Capt. Jeffrey Ward, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “They flawlessly executed the mission, exceeding all expectations, and I couldn’t be more proud of this crew.”

CERTEX was conducted to evaluate the integration of all elements of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and 31st MEU to test their ability to plan for and execute mission essential tasks.

“This patrol was extremely successful,” said Col. Tye Wallace, commanding officer of the 31st MEU. “We had a great time integrating with our naval partners. We were able to hone our skills as an afloat, amphibious crisis response force, and it allowed us to further strengthen the bonds of camaraderie between Bonhomme Richard and the MEU.”

Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard ESG, which consists of USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and USS Ashland (LSD 48).