Marines assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
(MEU) offload a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) after disembarking USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) The LCU is assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 Det Delta. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cale Bentley
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Ryan Tabios, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs
The USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) (BHR) off-loaded the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) here May 25-28.
The four-day offload saw the departure of more than 2,200 Sailors and Marines from BHR, USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47). The offload also included 300,000 pounds of equipment and heavy artillery and the MEU’s Aviation Combat Element.
“This was a calculated and well executed movement of personnel and equipment from ship to shore,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Flan Harrell, BHR’s assistant combat cargo officer. “It takes a great deal of planning to accomplish an event of this size and the coordinated efforts of the many departments involved were nothing short of outstanding.”
Harrell said the amphibious offload was a complete team effort.
“All together we accomplished this offload in the most efficient way possible,” said Harrell. “There is no way we could have met our demanding timelines if it were not for the outstanding leadership of my staff and the Navy/Marine Corps team, and the efforts of ACU 5 (Assault Craft Unit 5), ACU 1 (Det. D) and BMU 1 (Beach Master Unit 1, Det. B).”
ACU 5 operates the landing craft air cushion and ACU 1 operates the landing craft utility used to transport Marines and equipment ashore. BMU 1 mans the beaches and coordinates the landing craft’s movement ashore.
Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group
(BHRESG) Commander Capt. Bradley Martin said after spending the past few months with the 13th MEU he is confident in their ability to carry out any mission they are tasked with ashore.
“The Marines have used every second of their time, and every inch of this ship to prepare for this moment,” said Martin. “I am more than confident that their time ashore will be productive and successful. We look forward to the onload when their mission is completed, but for now the BHRESG will carry on our maritime operations mission in support of the theater commander.”
BHR Commanding Officer Capt. Steve Greene said the offload of the 13th MEU signifies the completion of only a portion of BHR’s mission.
“Our mission is to embark and deploy the land elements of the Marines Corps,” said Greene. “The offload is only part of our mission. We will now continue to conduct maritime operations to help set the conditions for security and stability in the region. Once the MEU has completed their mission ashore, and we bring them and our Sailors back home safely to San Diego at the conclusion of our deployment, we will have completed our mission.”
The BHRESG consists of Amphibious Squadron 7, BHR, Denver, Rushmore, USS Milius (DDG 69), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Chosin (CG 65), and 2,200 combat-ready Marines of the 13th MEU.
BHRESG is operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations and will be conducting maritime security operations (MSO). U.S. and coalition forces conduct MSO to help set conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other materials.