OKINAWA, Japan - Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived at White Beach, Okinawa, March 4.
During the port visit, the ship will embark Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), along with their vehicles and cargo prior to departing for a routine patrol.
“We are going to be very busy while in port receiving a variety of equipment and assets,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Armour, a combat cargo senior non-commissioned officer in charge. “There will be a lot of moving parts that have to be properly secured for sea.”
Armour explained that the primary focus will be preparing for Amphibious Integration Training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX).
“We want to make sure that 31st MEU is able to accomplish any mission they are called for, said Armour.”
Since departing Sasebo, Japan, the Bonhomme Richard crew has ran numerous drills preparing for an engineering certification and conducted a night-time replenishment at sea, while deck department embarked landing craft air cushions (LCACs) of Naval Beach Unit Seven and air department embarked aircraft from three squadrons. The MV-22B Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262, AV-8B Harriers of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 311 and MH-60S Sea Hawks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 all joined the crew in preparation for patrol.
"I couldn’t be more impressed with the crew’s performance in just one week,” said Capt. Jeffrey Ward, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. To accomplish as much as they have in such a short amount of time takes real teamwork and professionalism.”
Bonhomme Richard and 31st MEU are scheduled to conduct a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.
Bonhomme Richard is accompanied by amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).