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Bonhomme Richard Returns Home From Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050606-01
Release Date: 6/6/2005 3:00:00 PM

By Chief Journalist (SW/AW) Walter T. Ham IV, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) (BHR) returned to its homeport of San Diego June 6 and concluded its 182-day deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.

After steaming through 27 time zones, operating off the coasts of four continents and participating in two major operations, BHR Sailors and Marines received a hero’s welcome at Pier 8 on Naval Station San Diego.

“Our Sailors and Marines have once again proven that they are the best diplomats for peace and the mightiest weapon in our naval arsenal,” said BHR Commanding Officer Capt. J. Scott Jones. “They answered every call and made a difference. It has been an honor to serve with them on freedom’s front lines.”

In late December, less than a month into the deployment, Bonhomme Richard cut short a planned port visit to Guam to respond to the humanitarian disaster caused by the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake and subsequent tsunamis that devastated South Asia.

Bonhomme Richard, one of the first responders to the tsunami, established a coalition sea base and used its aircraft and watercraft to reach the hardest hit areas of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. During two weeks of humanitarian operations, BHR and the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) delivered more than 2.1 million pounds of humanitarian aid ashore.

The large deck amphibious ship then steamed into the Persian Gulf and conducted maritime security operations. On station in the North Persian Gulf for nearly three months, BHR again served as the hub of the sea base for the 15th MEU and the command ship for Commander, Task Force (CTF) 58.

As a part of CTF 58, Bonhomme Richard’s primary mission in the North Persian Gulf was maintaining security in and around both the Al Basrah and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals (ABOT and KAAOT, respectively), in support of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1546, which charges the multinational force with the responsibility and the authority to maintain security and stability in Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the Iraqi government’s request for security support.

“We bring crucial capabilities to any region,” said BHR Executive Officer Capt. Stephen Greene. “And as our Sailors and Marines have so ably demonstrated during this deployment, we are able to handle a variety of important missions.”

During the deployment, BHR also made port visits to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Manama, Bahrain; Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates; and Brisbane, Australia.

According to Jones, BHR Sailors and Marines showed the size of their hearts in Indonesia and their determination in the Persian Gulf.

“We delivered hope to the tsunami survivors and freedom to the Iraqi people. Our Sailors and Marines have changed the world for the better during the last six months,” said Jones. “They have added another chapter to the U.S. Navy’s storied legacy of service with honor around the globe.”

 



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