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130820-N-NZ935-027 SYDNEY (Aug. 20, 2013) - Sailors assigned to forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), along with Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), watch on as the ship passes the Sydney Opera House as it leaves Sydney ending a scheduled port visit. Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently conducting routine join-force operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond/Released)
Bonhomme Richard Departs Sydney
Sydney, Australia (Aug 20, 2013) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) departed Sydney, Australia after a four-day port visit.

During the visit, Sailors and Marines participated in community relations projects, friendly sport events with the local teams, and multiple tours offered by Bonhomme Richards’ Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department.

Twenty personnel from Bonhomme Richard visited the Calvary Health Care Center as part of a community relations project and assisted the staff in providing care for the elderly.

“I have been volunteering my whole life,” said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Timothy Lee. “I always love lending a helping hand.”

The crew also experienced Sydney through MWR tours designed to highlight recreational opportunities in the city.

"We sponsored the Blue Mountains and Sydney Opera house tour," said David Glazier, Bonhomme Richard's Fit Boss. "There was a great turnout and we received positive feedback from the participants."

On the 2nd afternoon in Sydney, Sailors and Marines competed in a friendly game of softball against a local softball team at Captain Cook Oval field and conceived a victory.

“I think it was a great experience for the Bonhomme Richard softball team to play a game with some of the Australian locals,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class Christopher Gamez, Bonhomme Richard’s softball team captain. “It wasn’t about who won or who lost. We had the opportunity to talk, and in some cases teach, all the different aspects of the game. It was a very rewarding experience.”

The port visit was the first opportunity for Bonhomme Richards’ crew to explore Sydney since it began operating in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility as the flagship of the only forward-deployed Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

“My first port visit to Sydney was great,” said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Anthony Fano. “I hope we have the opportunity to visit this amazing city again. Overall it was a good time spent with friendly locals and my fellow shipmates.”

Bonhomme Richard’s crew also hosted a reception for distinguished guests and gave tours of the ship to Australian nationals.

“It made me proud to be able to show off Bonhomme Richard to the Australian locals,” said Interior Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jacqueline Snow. “They were really excited to see the equipment and spaces throughout the ship.”

The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O'Connor, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
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