Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Enters 5th Fleet

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 24, 2009) In this file photo, tug boats guide the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as she turns into San Diego Bay. Bonhomme Richard and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed on a regularly scheduled western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John J. Siller.)

Focus on Defense:

INDIAN OCEAN, Nov. 18, 2009 -- After transiting the western Pacific Ocean, the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOR) this week to relieve the USS Bataan (LHD 5) ARG.

While deployed to the region, Sailors and Marines from the Bonhomme Richard ARG and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO), which help set conditions for security and promote regional stability and global prosperity.

“We’ve been training for the MSO mission in this region for quite some time,” said Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG’s commodore. “We’re ready to execute when tasked.”

While transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR, the Bonhomme Richard ARG – 11th MEU team participated in humanitarian projects during Marine Exercise 2009, sending Sailors and Marines ashore in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to provide medical and dental care to more than 2,000 patients in cooperation with local healthcare officials.

Sailors and Marines also volunteered in more than a dozen community service projects during four port visits to the area. Projects ranged from cleaning kennels at an animal shelter in Guam, to repairing playground structures in Phuket, Thailand, and spending quality time with orphan children in Dili, Timor-Leste.

Maritime Security Operations develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG consists of three ships – amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).

In addition, the ARG includes the command element, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; 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.

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

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