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Bonhomme Richard Conducts First-Ever Fueling at Sea with USS Freedom
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted an underway replenishment, providing fuel to the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) June 16.

This was the first time both Bonhomme Richard provided fuel to a littoral combat ship and the first time Freedom received fuel from a large-deck amphibious assault ship.

For Bonhomme Richard Sailors, the evolution was a tremendous success.

"The UNREP was important because it extended our flexibility in supporting and assisting different types of ship platforms," said Lt. Dwayne Williams, assistant first lieutenant. "The evolution gave our Sailors experience in taking on new tasks and enhanced our mission readiness capabilities for future operations."

During the hour-long event, about 60 Sailors from Bonhomme Richard's Deck Department worked together to deliver more than 3,000 gallons of fuel to the Freedom. To prepare for the evolution, Bonhomme Richard Sailors participated in an intensive weeklong training course prior to the event.

Master Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW/AW/SCW) Ian O'Meara, Deck Department leading chief petty Officer said, the class emphasized safety and clear communications.

"About 95 percent of our Sailors have never done this before," said O'Meara. "But, they executed the procedures safely and correctly from one step to the next with no deviations. I'm extremely proud of their efforts and performance."

And the Sailors were equally proud of their efforts said, Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Dennis Brown, UNREP rig captain. "There was no room for tippy toeing around, we had to be precise in our operations today, and we pulled it off with great success. It was a great day to be a boatswain's mate on the Bonhomme Richard."

First launched in Sept. 23, 2006, and delivered to the fleet Sept. 18, 2008, Freedom is the first ship of the revolutionary Littoral Combat Ship program, a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval warfighting technology. The ship is specifically designed to defeat "anti-access" threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including fast surface craft, quiet diesel submarines, and mines.

For more news from USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd6/.
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