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BHR, 15th MEU Moves More Than 102 Tons of Aid Ashore in Sumatra

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050118-09
Release Date: 1/18/2005 6:49:00 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, the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (BHR) (LHD 6) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit delivered 102 tons of badly needed humanitarian aid to tsunami victims on the Indonesian island of Sumatra Jan. 14.

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 BHR Commanding Officer Capt. J. Scott Jones, the San Diego-based ship has entered the "precision assistance" stage of operations.

"We've reached the stage where we are providing massive amounts of material to locations throughout the island now," Jones said. "We are providing the precise application of aid. In wartime, we call it precision targeting. At this stage of this humanitarian operation, we call it precision assistance."

Along with delivering vast quantities of fresh water to the areas of the island where it's in the greatest demand, Jones said Bonhomme Richard is also assisting the Indonesian government in assessing Sumatra's infrastructure.

"We are helping them to turn the medical, dental and civic infrastructure back to normal," Jones said.

The ability to quickly put a large amount of supplies where they need to go is another advantage of the versatility, mobility and reach of naval forces, Jones added.

"We're a multidimensional ship with the capabilities to influence events ashore," Jones said. "In this case, we're using those capabilities to deliver hope and help to the people of Sumatra."

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

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