SAN DIEGO – USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) held a change of command ceremony Feb. 3. Capt. Jonathan L. Harnden turned over command of the amphibious assault ship to Capt. Charles E. Litchfield with the crew and guests assembled in the hangar bay.
The ceremony marked the end of a 19-month command tour for Harnden. After taking command in July 2010, he led Bonhomme Richard through a successful Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. After RIMPAC, Harnden led Bonhomme Richard through a lengthy shipyard and maintenance availability period, followed by a ship-wide training cycle in preparation for various certifications, at sea operations, an upcoming hull swap with USS Essex (LHD 2) as well as major community events such as the 2011 Seattle Seafair and San Francisco Fleet Week. Bonhomme Richard successfully completed all assessments in December 2011 and was deemed mission ready and fully capable to fulfill any operational tasking by Afloat Training Group Pacific.
“The past year and a half aboard Bonhomme Richard have been some of the most challenging and rewarding months of my naval service,” said Harnden. “This crew has met every goal with professionalism and pride; exceeding expectations and setting records on a regular basis. They made raising the bar a routine and I can’t say enough about how proud I am to have called them all shipmates.”
Harnden’s next assignment is in San Diego where he will serve as Chief of Staff for Expeditionary Strike Group Three.
Capt. Litchfield, incoming commanding officer, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1988 where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Systems Engineering, and was designated a naval aviator in 1989. His prior tours of duty include: Chief of Naval Operations staff, Office of Aviation Budget, Programming and Assessment, as an aviation budget programmer; and Standing Joint Force Headquarters, United States Northern Command. He commanded HSL-46 in Mayport, Fla. From 2006 – 2007.