ESG 5 Comes Together for Integrated Exercise

Thursday, January 25, 2007
Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) brought its Navy and Marine Corps team back together Jan. 22 to participate in a pre-deployment integrated training exercise, one of the final preparations for the ship's upcoming deployment. Ships assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5, including USS Denver (LPD 9), USS Rushmore (LSD 47), USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Chosin (CG 65) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) got underway to kick off the pre-deployment training evolution.

ESG Integration Training (ESGINT) is one of three pre-deployment, at-sea training exercises that give ESG 5 the opportunity to work together as a team and test out plans for the first time, according to Operations Department leading chief petty officer Master Chief Operations Specialist Gerard Sprewell. “During ESGINT we will go through tactical scenarios that will prepare us for situations we might [encounter] during deployment,” said Sprewell. “ESGINT will better prepare us for upcoming exercises and ultimately for deployment.”

Bonhomme Richard embarked Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163, and elements of Marine Medium Lift Alternative Squadron 267, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466 and Marine Attack Squadron 513 of the Aviation Combat Element of ESG 5. The Ground Combat Element also embarked the amphibious ships by way of the well deck using utility landing craft (LCU) and air-cushion landing craft (LCAC) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 from Camp Pendleton, Calif. Assistant Combat Cargo Officer Marine Gunnery Sgt. Flan Harell said the LCU and LCAC operations are a great training evolution for Sailors and Marines. “For many of these guys, this is their first at sea period,” said Harell. “ESGINT really provides a live fire training environment for conducting amphibious operations. This experience is vital to prepare all the Sailors and Marines for deployment.” Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer, Capt. Steve Greene, said having the Marines back aboard allowed his ship to get back to doing what it does best - move Marines to the fight or scene of a disaster.

“It’s great to have the 13th MEU embarked and to begin the intermediate phase of our pre-deployment training,” said Greene. “The relationships and teamwork we build now will translate into successful missions during our upcoming deployment.” According to the ship’s training officer, Lt. Rico Aikens, during ESGINT all ESG 5 ships will establish and maintain communications with one another while conducting various at sea evolutions. Ships will conduct daily well and flight deck operations, drills and underway replenishments. “USS Rushmore, USS Chosin and USS Milius must maintain communication with ships assigned to ESG 5 during their scheduled visit, board, search and seizure exercise,” said Aikens. “All of which will serve to better prepare the ESG for deployment.” Bonhomme Richard and ESG 5 currently are underway off the coast of Southern California, conducting operations in preparation for a scheduled upcoming deployment.

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Jennifer Rivera, USS

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