Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting the ship ready for sea!!!

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Ervin Taylor and Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handling) Airman Aldo Venegas work together to repair Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) station equipment aboard USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6. The “Revolutionary Gator” is currently wrapping up a ten-month yard period. (US Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Capable and Motivated

By Ensign Annie Scroggs

Walking through the hangar bay of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) I pass dozens of Sailors mustered and standing by for any emergency that might arise as we charge the fire-main. The system has been dry for more than four months – drained to allow the necessary modifications to the ship while we are in dry-dock without worry of rupturing a pipe and flooding the ship with saltwater. Now it’s time to fill it back up and hope that it won’t leak. I notice the faces around me, waiting calmly. Whatever might happen, these Sailors are more than capable and motivated to respond to any situation immediately!

As the executive officer makes the announcement to start the process, I formulate my game plan. I can’t go to all my spaces at once nor is the fire-main in all of them. I decide to check the forward and aft shops to ensure everyone has left to go to their prospective watch stations. Starting in the fire pump room I find three of my Sailors methodically making notes of any potential problems in the space, paying special attention to the areas where contracted work had been completed. Suddenly, the Damage Control Assistant (DCA) announces we are charging the fire-main in this area of the ship. I wait in anticipation, but, as I glance at my Sailors I am sure they have this space under control; they are capable and motivated to ensure it is perfect.

Moving along, over the next five hours… I am roving the reefer decks, stern gate machinery rooms, forward and aft diesel, port and starboard after steering, compressor rooms, and aircraft machinery spaces and then back to them all again… circling continuously. I pause when I hear, “This is DCA from damage control central with a fire-main restoration update: Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4 complete.”

I look around at my Sailors’ as they nod, smile and continue with the days work. We have just taken the first step to putting the best warship on the waterfront back together. This is the beginning of many accomplishments to come. As the cold saltwater moves through the ships veins I realize, “This is how it’s done!” Section by section, system by system, piece by piece we will put this ship back together and continue to strengthen our team as the crew of USS Bonhomme Richard: Capable and motivated!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Revolutionary Gators, Family and Friends,

We are a bit past halfway through our planned maintenance period and things couldn’t be going better!  A brief update on our progress so far:

-      Our engineering work and modernization is moving ahead well and the painting of our island is complete.  Slowly but surely BHR is coming back to life and looking better than ever.
-      The “Tiger Teams” of BHR Sailors doing lagging, painting, decks, and berthing are doing a marvelous job renovating spaces all over the ship.  I am amazed at the quality of their work.
-      We are prepping for our return to the water as preservation and painting of the hull, installation of valves and our shafts, screws and rudders continue.  A few more sections of paint and the exterior will resemble that of the day she was launched.  We expect to be waterborne again in mid-April. 
-      A few things remain for us to accomplish upon our return to pier 13.  Installing our new computer network, finishing our MV-22 Osprey modifications and first stage of modifications to support the Joint Strike Fighter, applying new non-skid to the flight deck and a few major and minor tasks will be completed at the pier. 

As of now, we are moving a little ahead of schedule due to the diligent efforts of all onboard and their continued dedication to excellence and real pride of ownership.  Very groovy and very inspiring!   I am proud to serve with them.

Our immediate challenges lie ahead in completing our undocking in mid-April, preparations for our engineering light-off assessment, our combat systems light-off and returning to at-sea operational condition.  We expect to begin a few brief underway periods in July and August with the first being our Sea Trials in mid-July. 

Through all of this work, I cannot praise enough the actions, responsibility and attentiveness of your Sailors and Marines.  Though we are in the yards, we’ve managed to maintain a work schedule that maximizes our down time while achieving our goals.  Through activities such as the Gator cup, our various multicultural celebrations and plenty of time to spend in port with family and friends, we are, I feel, closer as a crew and a command as a whole.  Our efforts continue to set the pace on the waterfront and our actions, on and off duty, an example for others to follow. 

As we progress through the end of our DPMA period, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your efforts in accomplishing such an extensive overhaul.  We must continue to be vigilant, keep safety in our minds first and foremost and see the job through to completion.  I have no doubt we will emerge from this experience with Bonhomme Richard the pride of the waterfront and a truly Revolutionary Gator. 

Capt. J. Harnden
Commanding Officer
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The other side of dry-dock...

When a ship is in dry-dock-- like USS Bonhomme Richard is right now--there are portions of the crew who are not as busy as they normally would be when the ship is operational.  The chain of command will often send Sailors for training or to help out other commands during this time.  Some Sailors are tapped to go support other missions within the Navy, augmenting missions around the world wherever the need may be. 

A few of those Sailors are in the Philippine Islands right now and have been sending occasional updates on how they are doing.  Here is the latest...

From LT Iliff:

I just wanted to give you a quick update on how your BHR sailors are doing in the Joint Operations Area (JOA).

LTjg Turner:  Jack completed a successful tour as the TF-Archipelago Operations Officer and has redeployed back to the BHR.  A huge job, Jack directed Operations for an organization comprised of personnel from Seal Team 1, SBT-20, 3rd Mar Div, and MARSOC.  

LS1 Nonan:  Since the last update LS1 Nonan has moved from managing the warehouse in Zamboanga to managing the warehouse and transportation in Manila.  This is a great deal for LS1 Nonan, he gets to live on the economy in Manila while also getting to diversify his IA experience.  He has actually taken on much more responsibility than he had in Zamboanga.  He is still under the J4 however he directly supports the Manila Coordination Element (MCE) with moving PAX in and out of country and ensuring shipments coming to Zamboanga move out of customs and down to the JOA.  LS1 Nonan leaves in 1 month and we look forward to getting LS1 Noblejas from the BHR.

RP2 Price:  Since the last update Chaplain Chelf departed without a relief onboard.  RP2 Price was the acting Chaplain for approximately 2 months.  In this role RP2 Price successfully set up trips to give food and gifts to the local battered women's shelter and the local orphanage.  He also played on the winning basketball team for the Camp Navarro rec league and every Saturday night runs the popcorn and movie at Peter's Place (outdoor bamboo hut on Camp Navarro).

LT Iliff:  I have been extremely busy since 1 Jan.  As soon as the holidays were over we had a big [Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority] RIP/TOA for the Army Special Forces.  We are currently planning for the next big RIP/TOA for the Navy Special Forces unit.  The Pizza for Patriots Super Bowl Party went very well.  I currently have a lot of small projects going on such as developing a comprehensive spend plan for the command, adding soft serve ice cream and soda fountain machines to the DFAC, adding contracting responsibilities for MKV mini availabilities (I have been meeting with local contractors and ship yards in Subic Bay and Cebu),  labeling all JSOT-P generators at the outstations, and helping out with the electrical assessment at the outstations so that we can better utilize our generators JOA wide. 

I hope all is going well on the BHR.  I look forward to coming back to San Diego.  It looks like my relief will be here the first or second week of May.  If everything goes according to plan I will be back on Friday, 20 May.  Thanks!


Ian G. Iliff
LT,   SC,   USN
Logistics Planner
Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines

Friday, February 18, 2011

Perhaps for our next Yard Period ...

While those of us here in the yards get upgraded to the latest of what the Navy has to offer today, this link has something that our future Sailors may be upgraded to in one of their yard periods.  It's wonderful to see research with so many applications being done by our Navy.