Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) arrived in its new homeport San Diego today, after spending six years serving as the forward-deployed flagship of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, based in Sasebo, Japan.
While in San Diego, Bonhomme Richard is scheduled to receive flight deck upgrades to accommodate the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the vertical takeoff and landing variant used by the Marine Corps, according to the Navy.
USS Wasp (LHD-1), which replaced Bonhomme Richard in Sasebo, had similar work done to its flight deck to accommodate F-35B aircraft. In March, Wasp became the first ship to host a deployed a Marine Corps F-35 fighter squadron when six F-35B aircraft from the “Green Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121 landed on its deck.
While based in Japan, Bonhomme Richard participated in numerous annual exercises, including Talisman Saber with the Australian Defence Force and the Ssang Yong exercise with the Republic of Korea. After a deadly ferry sinking in 2014, Bonhomme Richard assisted the South Korean search and rescue operations.
“Bonhomme Richard was forward-deployed to Japan during the past six years,” Capt. Larry McCullen, Bonhomme Richard‘s commanding officer, said in a Navy news release.
“This crew and every other crew that has served on the ship during that time can be justifiably proud of their accomplishments while executing our nation’s business in the challenging FDNF (Forward Deployed Naval Forces) environment. The ship performed at a high level of excellence during exercises and in response to real-world events. We are honored to be part of this moment in the ship’s history, and the crew is excited to have San Diego as our new homeport. We accomplished much while serving in the 7th Fleet, and I am happy to report that Bonhomme Richard stands ready to complete any tasking and any mission in support of 3rd Fleet.”