Sailors and Marines man the rails aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as the ship arrives in Sydney, June 29. (U.S. Navy/MC3 William Sykes)

SYDNEY, Australia - The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived in Sydney for a scheduled port visit, July 29.

Bonhomme Richard departed White Beach, Okinawa at the beginning of June along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) as the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), and has been conducting routine operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Bonhomme Richard conducted multiple exercises, drills and training before commencing the biennial exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17) with an at-sea ceremony prior to the ship’s arrival.

“The last month has been an exciting time at sea for our blue-green team, working together daily to operating the ship, launch aircraft from deck and LCACs (landing craft air cushion) from the well, and have done it all with the highest degree of teamwork and professionalism,” said Capt. Larry McCullen, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “This port visit will be a great opportunity for the crew to enjoy some well-deserved liberty and experience the culture and historic sites of Sydney.”

Bonhomme Richard is scheduled to host a big top reception during the visit, as well as participate in local community relation projects. The crew will also have the opportunity to see the area and learn more about the city through several Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours.

“I’m ecstatic about going to Sydney,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Elliot Jones. “It’s been a bucket list item for me for a long time and I’m looking forward to going out and seeing the sites, especially the opera house, trying the food and making some incredible memories. I’m also going to do some shopping for myself and the family back home. I think it’s going to be a truly amazing experience.”

Talisman Saber is a biennial U.S.-Australia bilateral military exercise that combines a field training exercise and command post exercise to strengthen interoperability and response capabilities to uphold the tenets of the U.S.-Australian alliance.

Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the BHR ESG, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.