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Bonhomme Richard ESG Kicks Off JTFEX

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070315-11
Release Date: 3/15/2007 7:37:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dustin Mapson, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) (BHR) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) departed their homeport of San Diego on March 14 to take part in Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX).

JTFEX is the third and final phase of BHR ESG's pre-deployment training. The exercise is expected to test the strike group's full range of missions from ballistic missile defense to amphibious landings.

"JTFEX is the strike group's graduate-level exercise," said BHR Commanding Officer Capt. Steve Greene. "It will test our ability to plan and execute our full range of missions. Unlike previous exercises, where our embarked mentors [Strike Force Training Pacific Staff] prepared us to function efficiently and effectively as a strike group. Now, they will stand back; let us operate on our own; and evaluate our effectiveness."

Commander Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 7, Capt. Bradley Martin, said while JTFEX poses a wide range of unscripted and challenging events, the strike group will conduct the exercise with an emphasis on safety.
Martin commands, coordinates, integrates and executes the deployed operations of all surface ships and units assigned to BHR ESG and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

"We will be very busy throughout the exercise," said Martin. "And as in any free play training environment, things can happen at any time. Having said that, the pace will be within the parameters of ORM [operational risk management]. This is still training."

Martin added, JTFEX will be a step up from the previously completed ESG Exercise and Composite Training Unit Exercise.

"We are making excellent progress towards completing our integrated training," said Martin. "While we're ready, this will be a more challenging exercise than those previously completed."

Martin said the strike group has shown continual and significant progress as an integrated force and will continue to do so as it moves into JTFEX, the final preparatory phase of training before BHR ESG is ready for deployment.

"This exercise will give us an opportunity to show what an expeditionary strike group is capable of," said Martin. "We can prove that they have the ability to do tremendous things. We're ready for deployment and everything that comes with it."

BHR ESG is comprised of COMPHIBRON 7, USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Rushmore (LPD 47), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Chosin (CG 65), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and the 13th MEU. The strike group is scheduled to deploy early next month.



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