By MC2 William Sykes, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, March 22, following a week of unit-level training at sea.
Since Bonhomme Richard’s departure from White Beach on March 14, the ship’s crew has conducted several drills and trainings to ensure readiness and sharpen the crew’s rapid-response skills.
“We train so we are ready to respond to any kind of contingency or crisis in the AOR (Area of Responsibility),” said Capt. Larry McCullen, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. “I believe the strength of our Navy lies in the time we put towards training, so we’ve been doing drills throughout the ship, to include ship-handling with the bridge team, all while staying focused on safety and the basics.”
From simulated aircraft and main machinery room fires, ship maneuvering from the bridge, to a mass casualty drill in the hangar bay and medical, Bonhomme Richard Sailors had the opportunity to strengthen their skills and gain hands-on experience during a week focused on shipboard training.
As a member of the ship’s medical training team, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael James, from Virginia Beach, Va., oversaw the first-aid response and medical treatment provided during the mass casualty drill.
“The importance of conducting training like this is mainly because you never know what might happen day to day,” said James. “Preparing for the worst case scenario ensures that the corpsmen, providers and personnel on the ship are all on the same page, and that we can all provide the high-level medical care necessary to keep patients alive.”
While in port, Bonhomme Richard’s crew will have the opportunity to participate in events and tours hosted by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division.
Bonhomme Richard is operating in the Indo-Pacific region as part of a regularly scheduled patrol and provides a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster.