Sasebo, Japan (Nov 7, 2013) - Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, hosted Commander, Mine Warfare Force of the Japan Maritime Defense Force (JMSDF) aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
Rear Adm. Hiroshi Oka, Commander of Mine Warfare Force and approximately a dozen JMSDF officers and staff visited the ship. Upon arrival they were greeted by Capt. Cathal O’Connor, Commodore, PHIBRON 11, Capt. Heidi Agle, Deputy Commodore of PHIBRON 11, and Capt. Joey Tynch, Commanding Officer of Bonhomme Richard.
After an exchange of introductions, PHIBRON 11 conducted a familiarization briefing on basic amphibious operations, associated planning factors, and their application in real world operations by the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
After the brief Oka and his staff toured the Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck, medical area, hangar bay, upper and lower vehicle areas and well deck.
According to O’Connor the purpose of the visit was for the JMSDF to learn how PHIBRON 11 Sailors and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines work together to conduct amphibious operations. The visit also provided an opportunity to continue developing professional relationships between U.S. and Japanese naval, ground and air forces.
“These professional exchanges of ideas strengthen our relationship,” said O’Connor. “The interaction between our forces allows us to learn from each other and at the same time, their questions cause us to examine how we execute operations and look for ways to improve.”
The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is commanded by PHIBRON 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.