KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (NNS) -- Malaysian Armed Forces and delegates from the State of Sabah, Malaysia, visited the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Feb. 27.
Participants were given the opportunity to embark Bonhomme Richard via an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, tour the spaces and view the ship's capabilities, observe a UH-1Y Huey Venom helicopter live-fire demonstration and a Marine raid force demonstration.
"The live-fire exercise is part of the continued relationship between the United States and Malaysian militaries," said Maj. David Loveday, 31st MEU air officer. "The focus of the event is the UH-1Y, MV-22B, and the amphibious capability that they help provide. This event was originally discussed between the Malaysian and Marine Corps leadership in an effort to build on previous engagements."
This visit marks the first port visit of a big deck amphibious ship to Malaysia in two years. The visit's purpose is meant to develop relations between the United States and Malaysian governments by both countries conducting military training together.
"This exercise is part of an enduring relationship between our nations," said Loveday. "There will be other events that allow U.S. Marines and Sailors to train with our Malaysian peers, but this was a great opportunity to visit with them in an area where the U.S. has not traditionally visited. In the future, we hope for future opportunities in this area and throughout Malaysia for the bilateral training events."
Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is currently deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
Bonhomme Richard ARG 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, Japan.