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BHR Delivers More Than 7,000 Pounds of Humanitarian Relief to Tsunami Victims

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050107-16
Release Date: 1/7/2005 4:31:00 PM

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

ABOARD USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At sea (NNS) -- In support of Operation Unified Assistance, multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) (LHD 6) delivered more than 7,000 pounds of humanitarian assistance Jan. 7 to disaster stricken areas of Sumatra, including Banda Aceh and Blagpidie.

According to BHR Commanding Officer Capt. J. Scott Jones, "The ship is moving into position to reach the most inaccessible part of the island near Meulobah where people are in desperate need of help. We have sealift and airlift capabilities built to reach areas inaccessible by road or rail."

A helicopter attached to the San Diego-based ship also moved International Red Cross and United Nations officials around Sumatra to facilitate relief efforts.

To uplift the spirits of the local population in the hard hit Banda Aceh area, BHR's culinary specialists worked around the clock Jan. 6, with all ovens full speed ahead, to bake more than 22,400 cookies for the people around northern Sumatra.

"These cookies were very well received," Jones said. "This bake-a-thon is yet another example of compassionate spirit of our great Sailors and Marines."

Jones said the BHR's crew and embarked Sailors and Marines have the privilege to play in a critical part in this historic humanitarian effort.

"We've never seen a disaster of this scale during my lifetime, and it's natural to want to help," said Jones. "We have the good fortune of being able to do something about it."

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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