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USS Bonhomme Richard Positioned to Help Hardest Hit Areas of Sumatra

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050106-05
Release Date: 1/6/2005 3:05:00 PM

By Chief Journalist Walter T. Ham IV, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

ABOARD USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At sea (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) (LHD 6) is on station and in position to provide large-scale humanitarian assistance to tsunami victims on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Since Jan. 3, the San Diego-based ship has been flying aboard hundreds of thousands of pounds of disaster relief supplies from both support ships and warehouses in Sumatra in preparation to deliver it to the hardest hit areas of the island.

According to Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. J. Scott Jones, BHR brings the right airlift, sealift and medical capabilities to the task and is equipped to stay on station as long as necessary.

"We are self sufficient," said Jones. "We don't have to rely on the host country to support us while we try to help them."

BHR is currently moving into position to cover the maximum amount of area in the minimum amount of time.

"Our helicopters can cover the entire coastline of Sumatra," Jones said. "We're mobile and versatile. We can go anywhere they need us to go, and that's the benefit of having a Navy."

The Leesburg, Fla., native praised his crew and their fellow Sailors and Marines from the ship's embarked commands for their perseverance and hard work in preparation for their mission: to save people and mitigate suffering.

"We are warriors, but we are warriors with heart," said Jones. "Because of that, I'm not surprised at all to see how quickly everything is coming together."

Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group 5, conducting humanitarian relief operations off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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