SASEBO, Japan – Capt. Daniel P. Dusek relieved Capt. David P. Fluker as commanding officer of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a ceremony held aboard, June 28, 2012.
More than 1,000 Sailors, family members, distinguished guests from the community and leaders from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force attended the ceremony.
Fluker assumed command of Essex in January 2011. On April 23, 2012 Fluker took command of Bonhomme Richard after completing a hull swap in Sasebo, Japan. During his tenure, he led the crew through several multinational exercises in the Western Pacific, support for the President of the United States of America and disaster relief for Japan during Operation Tomodachi.
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as Commanding Officer of this fine crew,” Fluker said. “I am humbled by the dedication, motivated by the teamwork, and inspired by the accomplishments of each Essex and Bonhomme Richard Sailor and Marine.”
Dusek previously served as the ship’s Executive officer aboard USS Essex (LHD 2) when it was forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan in May 2011. Following the hull swap between Essex and Bonhomme Richard, he became the executive officer of Bonhomme Richard.
“It is truly a special honor to take command of Bonhomme Richard in such a wonderful place as Sasebo, Japan,” said Dusek. “It is both personally and professionally rewarding to have a second opportunity to command a warship that is forward deployed.”
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven and Task Force Seventy-Six.
During the ceremony Harley commented on Fluker's leadership and impact on the command.
“Captain Fluker, through your outstanding leadership on this ship and the great ship before, USS Essex, this outstanding crew was able to flawlessly and successfully complete many deployments, exercises, inspections, and humanitarian relief missions,” said Harley. “You all truly uphold the mighty ‘I have not yet begun to fight.’ spirit of this warship.”
Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. Daniel Dusek, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Amphibious Ready Group and serves as the flagship for Combined Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force commander. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with a detachment in Sasebo, Japan.