SAN DIEGO - Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 7 lowered its pennant aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Aug. 12 as the squadron disestablished after 24 years of naval service.
In efforts to create a more agile amphibious force, the Navy has modernized their force structure resulting in a reduction of amphibious squadrons throughout the fleet. These reductions led to the disestablishment of PHIBRON 7.
"PHIBRON 7 has been around for 24 years, and as the Navy has progressed in time and efficiency, there is no longer a need for PHIBRON 7," said Senior Chief Machinist's Mate Willis Wainwright, PHIBRON 7's former senior enlisted advisor.
The disestablishment was more than a way for the Navy to save money, but a great compliment to the Navy's progressing efficiency, said Capt. Humberto Quintanilla, PHIBRON 7's former deputy officer. Quintanilla added that personnel and equipment will be utilized at similar positions within the fleet.
"Although it's a sad day for us, it's a good day for the Navy as our people go on to do great things. As the Navy of tomorrow continues to evolve, these experts will be needed elsewhere," said Quintanilla.
During it's time in 3rd Fleet, PHIBRON 7 deployed amphibious operations that combined the efforts of the U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) with the U.S. Marine Corps's Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Ships within PHIBRON 7 included USS Cleveland (LPD 7), USS Rushmore (LSD 47) and Bonhomme Richard. These ships will now be under the operational control of ESG 3, and will remain in 3rd Fleet.
PHIBRON 7 held their final gathering aboard Bonhomme Richard. The squadron's commanding officer, Capt. Timothy M. Wilson, made his final remarks to the squadron and the ship's crew. Wilson reminded his staff of their diligent service throughout the years and showing thanks for those years served under his command.
Wilson was presented the squadron pennant which had flown aboard Bonhomme Richard in recent deployments. Saluting his staff, Wilson was rung ashore as they squadron was finally disestablished.
"With the changes in the Navy, changing of ships, and bringing in new technology the new war-fighters are out there," said Wainwright. "As we disestablish the staff we bring new innovation to the fleet."