EAST CHINA SEA - USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Expeditionary Strike Group (BHRESG) is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
Joining the BHRESG for patrol is the Pearl Harbor based guided missile destroyer, USS Preble (DDG 88) which began their deployment to the Western Pacific on 24 March.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Preble and integrate them into the amphibious force," said Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, Commander, ESG 7. "What Preble brings to the ESG significantly enhances our combat capabilities and effectiveness as a strike group that can support a full spectrum of theater contingencies, ranging from humanitarian and disaster relief, to full combat operations."
The addition of a destroyer increases all amphibious mission sets and adds increased weapons and over-the-horizon capability expanding the capacity of the Forward-Deployed Amphibious Force.
"The destroyer's maritime combat capability is well-paired to the ARG," said Cmdr Jeffrey Heames, Commanding Officer, USS Preble, "Providing vital asset protection and direct support using enhanced command and control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), air defense, strike warfare and anti-submarine sensors and weapons, and two embarked SH-60R helicopters."
The BHRESG is comprised of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), USS Green Bay (LPD 20), USS Ashland (LSD 48), USS Preble (DDG 88), and embarked Amphibious Squadron Eleven(PHIBRON 11) and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU).