PACIFIC OCEAN – The Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived White Beach, Okinawa, to embark Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), Jan. 26.
Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and Marines from the 31st MEU will take part in an amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX), participate in the annual multinational combined joint training exercise Cobra Gold, and conduct various other exercises.
"The amphibious Navy has never been just about the Navy," said Capt. Daniel Dusek, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. "It has always been about the Navy and Marine Corps team working together as a cohesive, integrated force.”
AIT and CERTEX are training exercises focusing on the ARG and 31st MEU amphibious assault and humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations, and non-combatant evacuation missions.
Cobra Gold is an annual U.S and Kingdom of Thailand sponsored joint, multi-national exercise intended to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore.
Bonhomme Richard departed Sasebo, Japan, just two days ago and the MEU embark in Okinawa is the first stop of her deployment in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
“This embark is an invaluable and integral part of us accomplishing the Navy’s amphibious mission,” said Dusek. “Our skilled and professional Sailors always work extremely well side-by-side with the Marines of the 31st MEU.”
The flagship Bonhomme Richard, USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) make up part of the Bonhomme Richard ARG and report to Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11 in Sasebo, Japan.