SAN DIEGO - The crew of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) successfully earned their anti-terrorism and force protection (ATFP) program certification June 28, meeting all of the requirements ahead of schedule.
The ATFP assessment measures the crew's ability to combat and defend against land, air and water terrorist threats to the ship.
Preparation for the drills took five months of training and planning, resulting in an observed assessment of three separate team drill performances.
Senior Chief Master-at-Arms (SW/AW/EXW) Johnny T. Douglas said the recent assessment for Bonhomme Richard was unique in that the ship just completed a shipyard maintenance period and was able to pass certification about a month ahead of schedule.
"I believe Bonhomme Richard is the first ship in San Diego to certify so quickly," Douglas said. "And we did it while still finishing repairs!"
The training teams for the certification consisted of approximately 10 groups pulled from Bonhomme Richard's chiefs' mess and several officers. The teams trained participants in their individual areas of expertise to include apprehending suspected terrorists and handling a suspected small boat attack.
"They laid the groundwork for proper watch standing during the drill scenarios," said Douglas.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Omari J. Fields participated in the ATFP drills, acting as a first responder for the quarter deck and standing an armed sentry watch during protective measures.
"The drills were repeated for months to prepare for the certification day," said Fields. "But we just kept performing our best and being flexible. Ultimately, I think when it was game time, we did really well because we train how we fight."
Douglas said the environment on the ship was still one of "under construction" as the contractors and crew finished all the maintenance and upgrades to get underway.
While ATFP drills were being conducted, the ship was also certifying for its damage control and light-off assessment.