PHIBRON 11 Deploys for Purposeful Forward Presence
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet public affairs
SASEBO, Japan - Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, which is permanently embarked aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, commenced a fall deployment of the 7th Fleet area of responsibility Aug. 10.

During this deployment, PHIBRON 11's staff includes over 120 Sailors from different commands around the world including Virginia, Hawaii, California, and Yokuska, Japan.

"I really think I pulled the right straw when I got to come to this command," said Operations Specialist Seaman Parker Morris, chart petty officer for PHIBRON 11. "This is my first deployment and I'm excited about it. PHIBRON is a great command for my first duty station."

More than 2,000 Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are scheduled to join PHIBRON 11 aboard Bonhomme Richard, USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Denver (LPD 9).

"We (PHIBRON11) are important to the mission because we manage all the ships in the Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) as far as the mission and exercises," said Morris.

The ARG is scheduled to participate in several exercises that will provide training to help enhance security, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The exercises include the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX), Amphibious Integration Exercise (AIT) and Certification Exercise (CERTEX).

PHIBLEX is an annual joint exercise conducted by the Navy and Marine Corps with the Republic of the Philippines navy and marine corps. AIT is a training exercise designed to strengthen the MEU's amphibious assault capabilities. CERTEX tests the Marines amphibious assault skills that they learned during AIT.

"We deploy in order to conduct bilateral exercises, execute standing plans and respond to contingencies, whether those be theater security, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief, all while working with our allies, partners and friends," said Lt. Cmdr. Frank Hinojosa, operations officer for PHIBRON 11.

Exercises like PHIBLEX and CERTEX helped prepare Sailors and Marines of PHIBRON 11 respond to core competencies like humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counter-terrorism.
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