SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Twenty-eight third grade students from Darby Elementary School visited the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) May 4.
During the visit, the students were given a tour of the ship by members of Bonhomme Richard's Junior Sailors Association (JSA) and had the opportunity to eat lunch with Sailors on the mess decks.
"I'm extremely happy we had the opportunity to give the kids a small idea of what their parents work is like," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Jamel Judgeowens, from Queens, New York, JSA's president. "I think the kids really enjoyed the visit and the JSA had a blast showing them around."
Over the course of the tour, different JSA members taught the students a little about their jobs including; steering the ship, directing aircraft, well deck operations and shipboard safety.
"Junior enlisted are the best subject matter experts to teach these students about their jobs," said Judgeowens. "Everyone was really engaged and excited to be able to show the students what they do on a daily basis. It was a lot of fun for everyone involved."
The tour concluded on the mess decks and the students were awarded a "head of the line" pass to get their chicken nuggets and sit down for a meal with Bonhomme Richard Sailors. One Darby Elementary School teacher stressed the importance of these visits.
"This provides a great opportunity for the students to compare their community at school or at home with the community on the ship," said Yumi Lawhun, a third grade teacher at Darby Elementary. "Visiting the ship also helps them appreciate their parent's hard work plus, I think everyone just has a lot of fun when they visit."
An awards presentation was conducted after the meal to award an "Honorary Sailor" certificate to each of the students, signed by Command Master Chief Carlton Duncan, for exhibiting the spirit of a Sailor.
Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and is preparing for her next deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.