Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embark USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). (U.S. Navy/MC3 Naomi VanDuser)

WHITE BEACH, Okinawa - Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Jan. 26 to participate in amphibious integration training and a certification exercise.

Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Sailors and Marines from the 31st MEU will focus on amphibious assault and humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations and non-combatant evacuation missions.

“This deployment will give the MEU the full opportunity to exercise all of their mission sets and be evaluated against known standards,” said Capt. Heidi C. Agle, Amphibious Squadron 11 commodore. “The entire ARG-MEU team will make this a successful deployment. Our teamwork is what makes the ARG-MEU team standout as a unique force multiplier in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.”

The 31st MEU consists of the ground command, and air and combat support elements that allow Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group to conduct amphibious operations from the sea and project power ashore.

During the onload, the ship’s Marine Combat Cargo department loaded vehicles and equipment from the MEU’s battalion landing team, ground combat element, aviation combat element and combat logistics battalion.

“Operations like these bring us Marines back to our amphibious roots making this a real team effort between us and the Navy,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jesse A. Rubens, combat cargo assistant (flight deck). “It’s exciting to put all we’ve been training for into practice.”

The Bonhomme Richard ARG, tactically controlled by Capt. Heidi Agle, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11, reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Japan.