140307-N-NT265-753 EAST CHINA SEA (March 7, 2014) - The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) extends refueling lines to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a replenishment-at-sea. Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), is conducting joint force operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian Senyk/Released)
Bonhomme Richard replenished by Rappahannock, Washington Chambers
EAST CHINA SEA - For the first time in six months, forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) in the East China Sea March 7.

The ship received 600,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine and aviation fuel from Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and more than 250 pallets of supplies and equipment from dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11).

"It's a great day to receive stores at sea, even though we got a little behind schedule," said Cmdr. Terrel Fisher, Bonhomme Richard's supply officer. "It's great to see the team come together to make things happen."

Conducting a RAS allows U.S. Navy ships to continue their mission indefinitely without pulling into port.

"The sea state was very high compared to all the other RASs we've done at this command," said Lt. Matthew Brophy, a bridge watchstander during the evolution. "It was good driving by the entire bridge team...keeping the ship safe, especially doing it with one ship and then going alongside another ship to finish the underway replenishment."

Bonhomme Richard took on fuel via connected replenishment (CONREP) and stores via vertical replenishment (VERTREP). During CONREP, fuel was transferred via hoses strung along cables strung between two ships' replenishment-at-sea stations. During VERTREP, helicopters were used to picks up supplies from one ship and deliver them to the other.

Lt. Colin Chance, Bonhomme Richard's safety officer, pointed out that while safety is important to any evolution, it was especially important given today's high winds and seas combined with the fact it has been six months since Bonhomme Richard's crew last conducted a RAS.

"I think it's a testament to the professionalism of the crew we were able to get the job done," said

The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is conducting joint-force operations in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
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