Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Enters 7th Fleet

PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 30, 2009) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducts a vertical replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J Kaiser (T-AO 187). Bonhomme Richard, the flagship for the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, is on a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sarah E. Bitter.)

Focus on Defense:

BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea, Oct. 7, 2009 -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), entered the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations Oct. 2 as part of its regularly scheduled deployment to promote peace, cooperation and stability in the region.

Led by Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG consists of three ships -- amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).

"We have a great Navy, Marine Corps team and offer a full range of operational capabilities. We look forward to operating in the 7th Fleet and playing a role in regional security and cooperation," said Clark. "We are also prepared to provide assistance in the region when called upon."

The ARG's 2,300 personnel make up the Navy component of a multicapable team that also includes 2,200 embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), commanded by Col. Gregg Olson.

Capt. John Funk, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer, is also looking forward to operating in the 7th Fleet region.

"We are looking forward to every opportunity to build friendships and enhance partnerships in the region and wherever we visit, to show our hosts the best ambassadors the United States has to offer – the sailors and Marines of Bonhomme Richard," said Funk.

In addition to its ships, the ARG consists of the command element, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.

The 7th Fleet operating area includes more than half of the world's population and more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans -- stretching from the International Date Line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG is transiting the 7th Fleet Area of Operations and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

(Report from Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs.)

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