USS Bonhomme Richard Earns Consecutive Blue H Award
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Tiffany Sivels
SAN DIEGO - The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) earned its second Navy Surgeon General's Health Promotion and Wellness Award, or Blue "H", recognizing excellence in command health promotion programs. The award was announced, April 1.

Bonhomme Richard is the only LHD class ship on the West Coast to receive the award with a gold star, the highest recognized honor for the Blue "H" award.

The Health Promotion and Wellness Award is an annual award sponsored by the Navy Surgeon General and managed by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. The award recognizes the promotion of health in Navy and Marine Corps organizations. Specifically, the Fleet version recognizes excellence in workplace primary prevention policies, activities and outcomes.

"Earning the Blue H award is a great accomplishment because it gives Bonhomme Richard an unmatched blend of warfighting and wellness capabilities," said Lt. Sergio Coronel, Bonhomme Richard's medical administrative officer. "A healthy Sailor is capable of working in the most strenuous environment and producing results."

Bonhomme Richard has a variety of programs available to help Sailors and Marines make healthier lifestyle choices, the majority of which are lead by the ship's Hospital Corpsmen. Topics range from sexually transmitted diseases, hearing and sight conservation, anger and stress management, tobacco sensation classes, conduct regular physical health assessments and immunizations for the crew.

"We have some motivated corpsmen here on the ship and without their drive and thirst, this medical facility would not succeed," said Coronel. "They have that passion, drive and desire to promote these health programs."

"I try to improve the programs that we have on the ship, but we can only advise, provide options and we make sure [the Sailors and Marines] get the information they need to make healthier decisions," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/FMF) Shannon Browdy, Bonhomme Richard's senior enlisted preventive medicine technician.

All new check-ins learn of these and other Bonhomme Richard health resources and policies through the command's indoctrination (INDOC) program, allowing representatives to speck directly to the crew about healthy lifestyle choices.

Achieving an overall score of more than 90 percent, Bonhomme Richard once again set an example for large deck amphibious ships on the waterfront. By promoting healthy lifestyle choices and offering education in dealing with the demands of life in today's Navy, Bonhomme Richard is working toward improving the quality of life of everyone aboard the ship, and enhancing the command's military readiness.

"The many operational successes enjoyed by the crew of Bonhomme Richard can be attributed directly to the high level of personal readiness of the crew; "They do it right the first time," said Coronel.
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