SASEBO, Japan - Former Chief of Naval Operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Admiral George Whelan Anderson once said, “the (US) Navy has both a tradition and a future, and we look with pride and confidence in both directions.” Today, forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) took time to honor the tradition and the future of the Navy as they celebrated their service’s 240th birthday.
“It is an honor to be able to be a part of the marking of such an important anniversary,” said Captain Jeffrey Ward, Bonhomme Richard’s Commanding Officer, and the speaker for the event, “especially while serving on a vessel with a name so synonymous with our Navy’s tradition and a ship that will be so pivotal to our Navy’s future. The first Bonhomme Richard was the ship that Captain John Paul Jones sailed into history to become the Father of the American Navy. The next ship to bear the name earned six battle stars in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. And now, we are our Nation’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, homeported in Japan, as our Navy rebalances to the Pacific. It is a thrill to be part of that kind of history.”
The ceremony was sponsored by Bonhomme Richard’s Heritage Committee and included speeches, presentations on the Navy’s history, and a ceremonial cake-cutting by the oldest and youngest members of the crew.
“This ceremony reminds us from where we came,” said Chief Aerographer’s Mate Robert L. Vonggonthong, Operations Aerographers Division Leading Chief Petty Officer and the Heritage Committee Lead. “Whether as a Service, or as an individual. We celebrate today our Navy’s growth and its legacy of proud history, and the passing on of that proud heritage. The cake cutting ceremony is so perfect for today’s event, because it so admirably symbolizes that exchange. The oldest Sailor ceremoniously passes the cake, which represents the heritage of our Service and knowledge of experience, to the junior Sailor for them to carry with them into our Navy’s future.
Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious ready group and is homeported in Sasebo, Japan, in the Seventh Fleet Area of Operations.