USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) with Military Sealift Command Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) Jan. 19.
This is the first RAS Bonhomme Richard has conducted during 2015.
“RAS is extremely important to the ship,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Eric Santiago, one of the RAS coordinators of deck department. “RAS allows Bonhomme Richard to remain at sea and perform her mission in sustaining presence.”
A RAS is a ship-wide evolution, and every Sailor and Marine aboard plays a role in its success.
“It all begins with the master helmsman,” said Santiago. “The master helmsman is trained in steering the ship within a range of 160 to 180 feet of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship assigned to replenish us.”
Normally, a RAS consists of Bonhomme Richard receiving fuel, supplies and food to support its crew. Military Sealift Command ships are the designated ships tasked with delivering the fuel and supplies.
“Bonhomme Richard received 120,000 gallons of fuel during the RAS,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fueling) 1st Class Marchello Roberts, V-4 fuels division leading petty officer. “The fuel we receive is essential in performing our mission. We use a lot of this fuel to support air operations and allow our aircrafts to patrol the skies.”
The fuel Bonhomme Richard takes on is tested for quality assurance every time.
“We must make sure that the fuel we receive is up to standards,” said Roberts. “We take a sample of each batch of fuel we receive and test it in our fuel lab. We must make sure that our fuel is clean, clear and bright.”
While refueling, Bonhomme Richard received 250 pallets of supplies containing food as well as aircraft and ship components.
“The supplies we receive support our Sailors and our mission,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Nhia Yang, S-1 division’s assistant leading petty officer. “We bring on board a lot of supplies, so we organize a group of 150 Sailors to help stow everything we receive.”
Bonhomme Richard’s crew participated in this working party until every piece of the stores they received were stored properly and safely.
“Sustainment is key in our mission aboard Bonhomme Richard,” said Yang. “Our Sailors and Marines always work hard to make that mission happen.”