SASEBO, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted an ammo on-load Jan.22 and 23 in preparation for its next patrol.
Over the course of two days, weapons department Sailors craned on and stored more than 150 pallets of ammunition and ordnance in preparation for upcoming exercises.
"The preparation for the on-load started the moment we returned from last patrol. The inventories and requisitions required to replenish the ammunition that was utilized takes a lot of planning and man hours," said Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Payne. "Ultimately, every division in weapons department unified to complete the on-load and made the evolution go seamless."
Gunner's mates, aviation ordnancemen, and Naval Ordnance Command (NOC) Sasebo civilian contractors utilized several tools to safely move ordnance. Payne went on to explain why safety is the paramount concern in an evolution like this.
"Some of the biggest accidents in the Navy were caused by the mishandling or the inadvertent firing of ordnance. Accidents are caused because personnel do not familiarize themselves with the safety precautions or just plainly disregard them," said Payne. "As one weapons department team aboard Bonhomme Richard, we have instilled a habit of following proper ordnance handling procedures at all times."
Payne explained why the on-load is the first step toward Bonhomme Richard's next patrol and plays a vital role in successfully accomplishing its mission while maintaining the safety the ship and crew.
"This evolution is important because it ensures that the embarked Marines have the weapons they need to carry out their mission of projecting power ashore."
Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group.