PACIFIC OCEAN - Capt. Jonathan L. Harnden assumed command of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), relieving Capt. John W. Funk during an at-sea change of command ceremony July 10.
Bonhomme Richard is underway off the Hawaiian Islands participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010. RIMPAC is biennial, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional partnerships and improve multinational interoperability.
Funk, a native of Drexel Hill, Pa., and 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, took command of Bonhomme Richard in January 2009, having previously served as the ship's executive officer. Under his leadership, Bonhomme Richard successfully completed a seven-month deployment supporting maritime security operations in the Fifth and Seventh Fleet areas of operations. During that deployment, Bonhomme Richard participated in theater security cooperation activities in Timor Leste and also visited Phuket, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During Funk's tenure in command, Bonhomme Richard also participated in the Navy's sea trial experiment "Trident Warrior 2010".
"It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve as your commanding officer and to serve with each of you," said Funk. "You, the Sailors and Marines of Bonhomme Richard, have achieved incredible successes, enhanced our national security, generated an unprecedented record of professional development, and demonstrated exemplary professional and personal behavior both on and off the ship. Yes, you did it all, and you did it all exceptionally well."
Funk's next assignment is as executive assistant to Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego.
Harnden, a native of Virginia Beach, Va., assumes command of Bonhomme Richard following a tour as the ship's executive officer. Along with a number of shore tours, the surface warfare officer and 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy has served aboard USS El Paso (LKA 117), USS Merrimack (AO 179), USS Pensacola (LSD 38)and USS Rushmore (LSD 47). He commanded the amphibious transport dock ship USS Pearl Harbor from 2004-2006, during which time the ship participated in disaster relief efforts in support of the U.S. response to an earthquake in Pakistan.
"There is no ship that I would rather be assigned to and no crew that I would rather serve with," said Harnden. "I am so proud of what you have done and look forward to the opportunity to serve with you in this next phase of Bonhomme Richard's life."
Bonhomme Richard is the sixth of the Navy's Wasp class amphibious assault ships. Its mission is to embark, deploy and land elements of the Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations by helicopter, amphibious vehicles or any combination of these methods.