ORAL SEA (July 21, 2013) – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) participated in a simulated beach assault as part of the biennial combined joint training exercise Talisman Saber 2013, July 20 and 21.
Marines and Sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and landing craft air cushion (LCAC) to participate in the simulated assault from Bonhomme Richard.
Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 is in charge of the amphibious vehicles used in the assault and coordinated the safe landing of the crafts on the beach.
“NBU 7 provides an efficient ship to shore connector that supports movement of troops, vehicles, equipment and supplies ashore from shipping, through the surf zone, and across the beach,” said Lt. Mathew Buhn NBU 7 detachment officer in charge. “The landing craft crews and beachmasters work as a team to manage safe loading, unloading, transport, and movement of assets across the beach for further use by the MEU ashore.”
More than 400 Sailors and Marines were transported ashore via LCAC the first two days. Almost 200 Marines flew ashore via Super Stallion helicopters and Ospreys.
Bonhomme Richard’s air department helped support the assault by launching and recovering aircraft from the 31st MEU’s Air Combat Element while deck her department supported NBU-7 by launching and recovering LCACs.
Bonhomme Richard serves as a support platform for the MEU to project power ashore,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Pearo, Bonhomme Richard’s combat cargo assistant. “By supporting the transportation of Marines ashore via air and surface movements, Bonhomme Richard and her crew performed superbly.”
Talisman Saber is a biennial exercise that enhances multilateral collaboration between U.S. and Australian forces for future combined operations, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster response. Over the course of Talisman Saber the Australian Defence Force works side-by-side United States Sailors and Marines, sharing information so that both countries can enhance their training and strengthen their military response.
The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and the 31st MEU report to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.