EAST CHINA SEA (March 18, 2014) Naval Aircrewman Philip Franzoni watches out the side hatch of an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 while while taking off from the flight deck of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship in the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group currently conducting joint force operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian Senyk/Released)
Bonhomme Richard ARG Departs for Ssang Yong Exercise
OKINAWA, Japan - Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group departed White Beach, Okinawa March 25 to participate in exercise Ssang Yong 2014.

U.S. Marines and Sailors of the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet will participate in the exercise with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and Marine Corps March 27 - April 7.

Ssang Yong is an annual combined exercise conducted by Navy and Marine forces with the ROK in order to strengthen our interoperability and working relationships across the range of military operations.

Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, Commander Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, said that the exercise is a significant opportunity for the U.S. and its regional partners.

"The ROK-U.S. alliance remains committed to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia," said Wetherald. "This exercise demonstrates how the Navy and Marine Corps amphibious team is equipped and organized to carry out these national objectives in cooperation with our international partners."

Ssang Yong is intended to exercise amphibious capabilities of each nation's Navy and Marine Corps, while enhancing the interoperability between the U.S. Marine air-ground task force and the ROK Marine task force.

Approximately 7,500 U.S. Marine Corps and 2,000 U.S. Navy personnel will participate in the exercise with approximately 3,500 ROK Marine Corps and 1,000 ROK Navy forces. ROK and U.S. Navy ships including Bonhomme Richard and Boxer Amphibious Ready Groups are scheduled to support the amphibious landing.

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team possesses a unique ability to come together with partner nations, conduct expeditionary planning, and execute amphibious operations. Exercise Ssang Yong will demonstrate the ability of a MEB headquarters to coordinate multiple Marine Air Ground Task Forces arriving in theatre via amphibious shipping, along with a ROK Regimental Landing Team, into an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
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