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SASEBO, Japan - The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) was certified deployment-ready following a Naval Surface Forces-led Ready for Sea Assessment (RFSA), Jan. 23.
The RFSA is a two-day assessment, conducted by Commander, Naval Surface Forces Command’s (COMNAVSURFOR) TYCOM Material Inspection Team (TMIT), which evaluates the material condition of installed and portable equipment throughout the ship, as well as the crew’s overall ability to operate safely at sea.
The first day’s assessment was conducted in port and consisted of equipment, material and administrative checks.
“The inspectors were pretty thorough,” said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Chance Riesing, from Warrenton, Mo. “They use the INSURV Inspector Guide List, which tells them everything to look for.”
Riesing said the TMIT inspected everything from primary and secondary drainage systems to the inventory of every repair locker aboard.
“[Repair locker] 5M had to be at 100 percent inventory,” said Riesing., “That took a long time setting it up outside the locker so they could go through every AEL (allowance equipage list) and make sure that we had everything we needed.”
The TMIT also inspected a variety of equipment and materials used in other areas of the ship, such as combat systems, navigation, engineering and deck to ensure all equipment are operational and within standards.
The second day’s assessment was conducted at sea and focused on the crew’s proficiency in propulsion, navigation, damage control and medical response.
John Kelley, a member of the TMIT said that in these drills, the inspection team assesses the crew’s ability to respond to a casualty quickly and efficiently while also following protocol and safety standards.
Stemming from life-like damage control scenarios, the drills assessed during the RFSA effectively tested the training of the ship’s multiple response teams.
“The ready for sea drills were geared more towards things that actually happen,” said Riesing. “It brings more realism in that medical, combat systems and damage control casualties may very well likely happen at the same time. When something happens like that, everybody is involved. I think it’s a really good way to incorporate everyone together in how a mass casualty might actually take place.”
The drills conducted and equipment assessed are essential to keeping the ships of the fleet safe and mission ready. With the ship certified, the crew is poised for a successful patrol in 7th Fleet.
“The assessors from COMNAVSURFOR gave Bonhomme Richard and our crew a good hard look and gave the green light for the Ready for Sea certification,” said Capt. Larry McCullen, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. “We need to continue to drill and train to ensure we are ready to answer the call for whatever may come our way during this deployment. My number one goal is to ensure that every Sailor gets safely home, a little better and a little prouder than when they left and when they first reported onboard. I am extremely proud of the performance of every Revolutionary Gator leading up to this assessment, and I know that we will continue to exhibit the same level of professionalism until we are safely and securely back in San Diego.”
Bonhomme Richard is underway on a regularly scheduled patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.