USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)

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USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
USS Bonhomme Richard underway in January 2003.
Career (U.S.)
Name: USS Bonhomme Richard
Namesake: John Paul Jones' frigate
Ordered: 11 December 1992
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding
Laid down: 18 April 1995
Launched: 14 March 1997
Commissioned: 15 August 1998
Homeport: Sasebo, Japan
Status: in active service, as of 2014
Badge: USS Bonhomme Richard COA.png
General characteristics
Class & type: Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 40,500 tons
Length: 844 ft (257 m)
Beam: 106 ft (32 m)
Draft: 27 ft (8.2 m) navigational
28 ft (8.5 m) limit
Propulsion: Steam turbines: two shafts, 70,000 shp (52 MW); Boilers: two, 600 psi (4.1 MPa)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)
Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Troops: 1,800
Complement: Embarked ships company: 104 officers, 1004 enlisted
Embarked Marine detachment: 1894 officers and enlisted
Armament: 2 × NATO Sea Sparrow systems
2 × Rolling Airframe Missile systems
2 × Phalanx CIWS
3 × 25 mm Mk 38 cannons
4 × .50-cal M2HB machine guns
Aircraft carried: Assault: 42 × CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
Sea Control: 5 × AV-8B Harrier attack planes
6 × ASW helicopters
Motto: I have not yet begun to fight!
Nickname: Revolutionary Gator, Bonnie Dick

USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, and the third United States Navy ship of that name. It was named in honor of John Paul Jones' famous frigate, which he had named the French language equivalent of "Good Man Richard," in honor of Benjamin Franklin, the U.S. Ambassador to France at the time. The name Bonhomme Richard is derived from the pen name of Benjamin Franklin, the author of Poor Richard's Almanac.

The contract to build her was awarded to Ingalls Shipbuilding on 11 December 1992, and her keel was laid down on 18 April 1995. She was launched on 14 March 1997, delivered to the Navy on 12 May 1998, and commissioned on 15 August 1998.

On 23 April 2012, the Bonhomme Richard switched homeports San Diego, California to Sasebo, Japan when she took the place of the USS Essex (LHD-2) as the command ship for Expeditionary Strike Group Seven.[1]

Mission[edit]

The primary mission of USS Bonhomme Richard is to embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine landing force in amphibious assault operations by helicopter, landing craft and amphibious vehicle.

Commissioning[edit]

USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) departed its building yard, Ingalls Shipbuilding division of Litton Industries, Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 8 August 1998, sailing into Pensacola Harbor at Naval Air Station Pensacola for commissioning activities and culminating with the main ceremony, which was held on Saturday, 15 August 1998.

U.S. Representative John P. Murtha, of Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District delivered the principal commissioning address. The Secretary of the Navy, John H. Dalton, placed the new ship in commission. Music was provided by the 135th Army Band, normally stationed in Springfield, Missouri.

Congressman Murtha's wife, Mrs. Joyce Murtha, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, served as Ship's Sponsor for LHD-6, and christened the ship at Ingalls in May 1997. During LHD-6's commissioning, Mrs. Murtha gave the traditional order to "Man our ship and bring her to life!"

Other commissioning participants of note included Mississippi's Fifth District Representative, Congressman Gene Taylor; Admiral Donald L. Pilling, USN, Vice Chief of Naval Operations; Vice Admiral Patricia Tracey, USN, Chief of Naval Education & Training; and Jerry St. Pe', Senior Vice President of Litton Industries and President of Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Shield and Crest[edit]

The USS Bonhomme Richard's ship crest.

Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally used by the United States Navy. The red, white, and blue shield reflects the national colors of the USA and suggests its coat of arms. The six red stripes represent the ship's hull number as well as the six coins placed beneath the mast during mast stepping; red being the color of valor and sacrifice. The gold fleur-de-lis highlights the heritage of the first ship named Bonhomme Richard. The wreath of two green laurel branches symbolizes honor and high achievement commemorating the two previous ships carrying the name Bonhomme Richard. The eagle, overlooking the fleur-de-lis, adapted from historic flags and documents of the American Revolutionary era, symbolizes the fighting spirit, patriotic fervor, and tenacity of both John Paul Jones and the United States Navy. The eagle is flanked by six gold stars representing the battle stars earned by the second Bon Homme Richard during World War II and the Korean War underscoring the heritage and continuing resolve of the fighting Navy. The chief is blue with a wavy edge suggesting a shoreline and reflecting the amphibious mission of the Bonhomme Richard. The trident is emblematic of sea prowess and power from the sea; It has wings to commemorate the second Bon Homme Richard, an aircraft carrier and the three tines further represent the three areas of that ship's sea battle service: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The trident is scarlet, a color traditionally used by the United States Marine Corps, and highlights action and zeal thus underscoring the ship's assault and battle insertion mission combining the land, sea, and air elements of the fighting force. The trident, synergistically combined with the crossed U.S. Navy and Marine swords, symbolizes combat readiness and teamwork highlighting the current LHD's potent amphibious and heliborne assault capabilities in the deployment of forces ashore.

Deployments[edit]

USS Bonhomme Richard underway in the Pacific Ocean.
USS Bonhomme Richard off Oahu the day of her arrival for RIMPAC 2008.
  • Operation Southern Watch (24 January 2000 to 24 July 2000)- First (WESTPAC) deployment of U.S. naval ships in the 2000s.
  • Operation Enduring Freedom (1 December 2001 to 18 June 2002)
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom (17 January 2003 to 26 July 2003)
    • Bonhomme Richard played two significant roles in Operation Iraqi Freedom. First, it offloaded more than 1,000 Marines and gear from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines into Kuwait. Then after delivering her attack and transport helicopters, troops, and vehicles she took up position just miles off the coast of Kuwait and became one of two Harrier Carriers along with USS Bataan (LHD-5) in the Persian Gulf—launching AV-8B Harrier strike aircraft into Iraq. Pilots from Marine Attack Squadrons 211 and 311, embarked aboard Bonhomme Richard, expended more than 175,000 pounds (79,000 kg) of ordnance, providing close air support to the Marines on the ground and during predetermined strikes in Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom the Bonhomme Richard launched more than 800 sorties, including 547 combat launches.
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom (6 December 2004 to TBD) Detached to Sri Lanka to provide support for relief efforts following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its subsequent tsunamis. On 4 January 2005: Helping airlift relief supplies to the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.[2]
  • Operation Unified Assistance (5 January 2005 to February 2005) On a port visit in Guam on 28 December, Bonhomme Richard and her expeditionary strike group were ordered to the Indian Ocean to help in relief efforts following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Her helicopters flew supplies and medical personnel into various areas of Indonesia, as well as evacuating the wounded.
  • RIMPAC 2006, July 2006. Maneuvers in the Kaulakahi Channel (between Kauai and Niihau Islands, Hawaii), near PMRF.
  • (23 May 2007 to November 2007) Joined with two carrier groups (John C. Stennis and Nimitz) off the coast of Iran to carry out previously unannounced air and sea exercises.
  • RIMPAC 2008, July 2008. Maneuvers in the Kaulakahi Channel (between Kauai and Niihau Islands, Hawaii), near PMRF.
  • WESTPAC September 2009 to April 2010. Deployed to the Fifth and Seventh Fleet areas of operations. Ports of call include East Timor, Phuket, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Oahu, Hawaii.
  • RIMPAC 2010, July 2010. Maneuvers in the Kaulakahi Channel (between Kauai and Niihau Islands, Hawaii) near PMRF
  • Home port moved to Sasebo, Japan in 2012 as part of a hull swap with the USS Essex (LHD-2).
  • Exercise Talisman Sabre 2013, July–August 2013. Maneuvers in Queensland, Australia and in the Coral Sea. Arrived in Sydney on 16 August 2013 after the end of the exercise.[3]
  • Assisted in the air-sea operation of the 2014 South Korean ferry capsizing with helicopters on April 16th 2014.[4]

Unit awards[edit]

  • 2006
    • Battle Efficiency Award
  • 2005
    • Command, Control, Communications and Information Warfare Excellence Award
    • Blue 'E' for Logistics Management Excellence Award
    • Green 'H' for Force Wellness Award
  • 2004
    • Blue 'E' for Logistics Management Excellence Award
  • 2003
    • Blue 'E' for Logistics Management Excellence Award
  • 2002
    • Battle Efficiency Award
    • Maritime Warfare Excellence Award
    • Engineering Excellence Award
    • Command, Control, Communications and Information Warfare Excellence Award
    • Green 'H' Force Wellness Award
    • Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award
    • Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Retention Excellence Award
    • Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Intelligence Excellence Award
  • 2001
    • Battle Efficiency Award
    • Navy Unit Commendation (11 September 2001 to 3 March 2002)
    • CNO Safety Award
    • Maritime Warfare Excellence Award
    • Engineering Excellence Award
    • Blue 'E' for Logistics Management Excellence Award
    • Green 'H' for Force Wellness Award
    • Allen G. Ogden Award
    • Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award
  • 2000
    • Battle Efficiency Award
    • CNO Safety Award
    • Maritime Warfare Excellence Award
    • Engineering Excellence Award
    • Blue 'E' for Logistics Management Excellence Award
    • Green 'H' for Force Wellness Award
    • Allen G. Ogden Award
    • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (22 March 2000 to 8 June 2000)
  • 1999
    • CNO Safety Award
    • Green 'H' for Force Wellness Award
    • Allen G. Ogden Award
  • 1998
    • Green 'H' for Force Wellness Award

List of commanding officers[edit]

Name Term of office
CAPT Murray Joe “JT” Tynch III[5] 1 October 2013 - present
CAPT Daniel P. Dusek[6] 28 June 2012 - 1 October 2013
CAPT David P. Fluker[7] 23 April 2012 - 28 June 2012
CAPT Charles E. Litchfield[8] 3 February 2012 - 23 April 2012
CAPT Jonathan L. Harnden[8] 10 July 2010 - 3 February 2012
CAPT John W. Funk 13 January 2009 - 10 July 2010
CAPT Neil R. Parrott 14 June 2007 - 13 January 2009
CAPT Steve Greene 31 August 2005 - 14 June 2007
CAPT Jeffery Scott Jones 5 August 2004 - 31 August 2005
CAPT Jon F. Berg-Johnsen 18 February 2003 - 5 August 2004
CAPT Stanley Vincent DeGeus 20 September 2001 - 18 February 2003
CAPT Robert Jeffrey Connelly 24 April 2000 - 20 September 2001
CAPT Douglas Wayne Keith 15 April 1998 - 24 April 2000

Note: CAPT Fluker took command of the USS Bonhomme Richard after being in command of the USS Essex since January 2011 before the hull swap and shortly before he was scheduled to turn over command to CAPT Dusek. The short time he is recorded as being in command of LHD 6 is not indicative of the time he spent in command of the ship's crew.[9]

Popular culture[edit]

The ship was used for various scenes in the 2012 movie Battleship. Sailors from the ship were used as extras in scenes.

The ship was also used for several scenes in the 2012 movie Act of Valor.[10]

References[edit]

External links[edit]