150126-N-AY934-029 OKINAWA, JP (Jan. 26, 2015) Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embark the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Naomi VanDuser/Released)
Bonhomme Richard Conducts Ammo Onload
SASEBO HARBOR, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted an ammo on-load Jan. 22-23 in preparation for its next deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Over the course of two days, Weapons Department Sailors craned on and stored more than 1,000 pallets of ammunition and ordnance in preparation for upcoming exercises.

"When we conduct the on-load, we're bringing on enough ordnance and ammo to act as a war contingency for all of U.S. 7th Fleet and our allies," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Christopher Barth, from Medina, Ohio. "Whether it's special warfare forces, explosive ordnance disposal or Marines, we are prepared and ready to assist them in executing their respective missions."

Gunner's mates, aviation ordnancemen, and Naval Munitions Command (NMC), Sasebo civilian contractors, utilized several tools to safely move ordnance. Barth stressed the importance of taking the proper precautions when moving the ordnance during these evolutions.

"There are numerous safety hazards when conducting an evolution of this magnitude," said Barth. "Everything from accidents with the forklifts to explosions are things that we need to prevent and be ready to respond to. We've taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our Sailors and our ship."

This evolution requires Bonhomme Richard's Weapons Department Sailors to not only have the most focused amount of attention to detail to prevent injury, but also a tremendous amount of teamwork.

"This is the first time 30 of our Sailors have been through this evolution and I'm extremely impressed by their work ethic and positive attitude," said Barth. "We have top notch leadership in weapons department and they've done a tremendous job preparing everyone for the onload."

The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is currently under the tactical command of embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, Capt. Heidi Agle and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
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