By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) — Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, visited amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) while at sea, March 21.
During his visit, Nicholson visited several work centers, met with Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and sat down for a dinner with command leadership.
“I appreciate what you all do,” said Nicholson as he addressed Sailors and Marines. “The ‘blue-green’ integration here is phenomenal and the work you do together here on this ship is a prime example of quality, so I thank you for everything you do.”
Nicholson also spoke about upcoming exercises and the importance their teamwork will play.
“I don’t like using the term exercise anymore,” said Nicholson. “What we do out here is rehearsing. We rehearse drills so if we ever need to respond to a call, we know what is expected of us. We practice, we practice, we practice, so that when we get in the game we don’t even have to think about it. We are the first responders in this AOR (area of operation).”
To recognize the hard work of Sailors and Marines, Nicholson presented command coins to those selected by their supervisors.
“I’m honored to have received his coin,” said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Dylan Ball, assigned to Bonhomme Richard’s (BHR) aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD), from Sierra Vista, Arizona. “It’s quite humbling. I never expected to be recognized, so this is great.”
“I don’t ever expect to be recognized for doing my job, so this is truly an honor,” said Cpl. Daniel Finn, a Marine of the 31st MEU assigned to BHR’s AIMD, from Erie, Pennsylvania. “The fact the general came out to visit and speak with us shows he cares, and you can see it in everyone on the ship.”
Nicholson concluded his tour in the medical bay, speaking to the hospital corpsman about their importance to the blue-green team, especially to the Marines on the ground.
“Individually, we’re great, but together we’re unbeatable,” said Nicholson. “Marines depend so much on their corpsman. They will fight like hell, but if they know they have a corpsman and they trust that corpsman, it makes a significant difference.”
BHR and the 31st MEU are scheduled to continue a routine patrol, operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance warfighting readiness and posture forward as a ready-response force for any type of contingency.
Bonhomme Richard is the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG), which also includes amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).