Welcome to Jack's deployment site. Here you'll find updates on Jack's latest deployment adventures, including pictures and stories. Visit regularly to see where Jack's been.
Adventures with Jack
Deployment Pics - Part On
I know I said I would not post here, but I lied. Not really, but it is hard to describe the pics when I am posting somewhere else. I did post a video on my blog, so please go there to view it. It is hilarious.
The pic of Jack with wog written on his shirt is from the ceremony of crossing the equator. Go here to read about that adventure.
They next shots are of a giant chess game and more sumo pics. The shot with the really long line is the chow line. Yea, no chance of anyone getting fat here!
The next pics are of the Marines swimming. They got to jump off the ship and swim in the warm waters off of Timor Leste.
This is all for now, because there are a lot of pics and this is very time consuming, but more to come later.
Pics from Deployment - Part One
Homecoming - Final Installment
i wrote about the final day of deployment on my blog. I added new pics from homecoming and will add pics from Jack soon.
Thanks to all of you for following this journey!
Homecoming: The Saga part 2
As with the first entry, I am posting part 2 on my blog. I uploaded more pics on this site, so just scroll down to the bottom to see pics from our down time before and after homecoming.
Homecoming: The Saga part 1
I posted the first installment on my blog. Please go there to start reading about our adventure. I added some more pics to this site. I have many and it will take a few days to post all that I want you to see! Check back for more!
Most are before Jack came back. Nancy and I had a great time in San Clemente!
He is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just added a few pictures because it was a long day and I am tired. We got to the base around 10:00 and did not leave until 5:00. I will write another post about the whole day in a couple of days.
The pic with the bushes is the ship floating off the shore. I was so happy to see it. Nancy and I actually saw the ship from the San Clemente pier earlier in the day and looked at it through a telescope.
Lorene, I will be back to work on Thursday. We will leave tomorrow.
Great time. My son is home!!!!!!!!
Homecoming, Part One
Well, we arrived ok, but it took awhile. I will tell the whole story of our trip later. Just know it involved many delays that included, two drug sniffing dogs, sitting on I8 for about an half hour and crazy CA drivers. Jack's schedule keeps changing, but we should meet up with him today sometime after noon. We woke up early today and are getting ready to go to the pier and beach.
The pic of the young man is another Marine staying at our hotel. We spent some time last night talking to him. Lcpl Steve is deploying to Afghanistan soon so please pray for his safe return.
Got to ready so I will update later.
The pic of the lights is just another saga in our trip. Like I said I will write out the whole story later, but it fits with everything else.
Not long now. We are counting the hours
So, it is almost here! Sorry about the eight emails from yesterday. Shutterfly is not too user friendly. Picture storage works great. Blogging, not so great. I am writing this from my word processor and then copy and paste so hopefully no problems.
I wanted to accomplish so much this week, clean my house, pack and figure out Jack's GPS in his car. Yea, none of it happened. Chalk it up to deployment brain. Whatever, I will pull it together and get out there come Hell or high water.
Love the pics from Hawaii. Wish there were more, but maybe in the coming days. This may be my last update before I return. Depends on what info is put out there. We will see.
I am so excited about homecoming and it is hard to concentrate on other things. I had to buy a new camera because mine bit the dust. Absolutely have to have a working camera!
So, I will leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, From Dusk to Dawn. George Clooney said this, Okay ramblers, let's get rambling!
This is the third time I am trying to write this. After Jack gets home, I will not post here anymore because the frustration is too much. My posts keep getting lost and I can not take it. He is on the last leg of his journey and will be home soon! Me, I am very excited! It has been a tough few months.
Anyway, I now know why the communication was cut off for about two months. I can not post it here, but ask me and I will tell you.
I also know where he will come home, thank goodness and I am so looking forward to seeing him!
Here is a letter from the Capt and a bit more info on the BHR: From the Captain... Share Mon at 11:55am Aloha families and friends of BHR!
This morning we arrived in Pearl Harbor to a beautiful sunrise and our first time on US soil in over six months. While we’re not quite home yet, it’s great to be back in the United States.
This is the final stop for your Sailors and Marines before we return to San Diego. While we look forward to a fun couple of days in Hawaii, the anticipation of our reunion with you is our motivation.
Mahalo (Hawaiian for “thank you”) for your continued support and encouragement.
Aloha – Captain John Funk USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Welcoming aboard our Tigers as we get ready to leave Pearl Harbor and head home!
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) underway....shift colors!!
They left. The Tigers are family members that are cruising home with the military! Maybe someday!
Bonhomme Richard Crew Gets Homecoming 'Reality Check'
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Katherine K. Barkley, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- As the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) continues on its transit to its homeport of San Diego, crew members gathered in the hangar bay April 1 for a "Reality Standdown," in preparation for homecoming.
The standdown focused on planning, safety in decision-making, some of the risks associated with return from deployment and the consequences of not adhering to safety principles taught to all Bonhomme Richard Sailors.
"The purpose of this reality standdown is to refocus our young Sailors prior to getting home. Our focus has been on being at sea for the past six months; now it's time to shift our focus to being back home," said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) David Steo, coordinator for the event.
For the last month, an embarked representative from the Fleet and Family Service Center has facilitated return and reunion workshops for crew members, focusing on returning to family, financial planning and emotional changes that may occur after deployment. The Reality Standdown provided additional information for possible changes and challenges that lay ahead for Bonhomme Richard crewmembers readjusting post-deployment.
"What we're hoping this standdown does is help our Sailors realize that they will be home before they know it and hopefully start them thinking about the possible consequences of not thinking before they act," said Steo.
Topics included drinking and driving, suicide awareness, sexual assault prevention, liberty policy for homeport San Diego and nearby Mexico, as well as safety for motorcyclists. Sailors spoke about past experience with alcohol-related incidents and the affects they had on their personal lives and Navy careers.
"It was very brave for them to get up there and talk about their experiences with alcohol incidents," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Richard Williams. "Getting a first hand account of what those sailors went through helps me understand what could happen if I made the wrong decision with alcohol."
Interior Communications Electrician Fireman Apprentice April Green, who is on her first deployment, said that the presentation was very informative.
"I am new to the Navy and to San Diego, so it's good that we're informed on areas that could be potentially hazardous for us," she said, "The presentation provided a lot of food for thought on making good decisions in the near future, so as to not lose privileges."
The event concluded with comments by Commanding Officer Capt. John Funk. He reflected on the crew's performance throughout the past seven months of deployment, as well as emphasized to the crew that they should continue to take care of each other even after returning home.
"Tonight's intent was to talk about reality, for you to see that the reality of life is based on our choices and actions. We wanted to make sure you have your eyes wide open to the consequences," said Funk.
"But, let's also face reality from a different perspective. Let's look at the Bonhomme Richard reality, and the impact of our choices and actions as a crew. The reality of the past seven months is the incredible operational and personal successes we have achieved. When we get home, that's the reality you should consider and celebrate."
Bonhomme Richard, the command platform for the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, returning home following a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operations.
SAN DIEGO — More than 4,300 Marines and sailors are heading home to California from their seven-month deployment with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
On Thursday — April Fool’s Day — amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard crossed the International Date Line, a day its skipper, Capt. John Funk, in a message posted on the ship’s Facebook page, noted lasted “an interesting 47 hours.” The crossing of another time zone shortened the extended day by one hour.
Bonhomme Richard and two other amphibious ships of the San Diego-based ready group, dock landing ship Rushmore and transport dock Cleveland, spent more than four months in the Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa regions conducting maritime security operations, and supporting theater security and cooperation exercises, including training in Kuwait, Djibouti and Tiimor-Leste.
A six-day liberty visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in mid-March came after 127 consecutive days at sea for the big deck Bonhomme Richard.
Command of the ready group changed hands in December when Capt. Rodney Clark, commodore and commander of Amphibious Squadron 7, handed the reins to Capt. Timothy Wilson during a ceremony aboard Bonhomme Richard.
Rushmore and Cleveland had left San Diego on Sept. 18 for the scheduled deployment, but Bonhomme Richard, along with more than 1,000 Marines, left San Diego on Sept. 24 after a week’s delay for repairs of cracks and leaks in three steam service turbine generators.
The 2,100-member 11th MEU, commanded by Col. Gregg Olson, includes Battalion Landing Team 2/4, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion 11.
Navy units include Assault Craft Unit 1’s Detachment B, ACU 5’s Detachment F, Tactical Air Control Squadron 12’s Detachment 1, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23’s Detachment 3 and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
All I can say is, Yea!!!!!!!!!!
Homecoming is almost here! Can not come soon enough!
Homecoming is Soon!
It is almost time. I wrote a whole post about the pics and then lost it. I am too tired to rewrite it, so I am not going to.
I should be hearing from Jack next week, when he is in his last port. He will activate his cell and we will be able to talk more freely. Done with the code talking.
Almost down to single digits until homecoming. Thank goodness!
From the Captain...
Friday, March 26, 2010 at 7:58pm
Greetings family & friends. Today BHR continues our journey east and San Diego is getting closer with each passing mile!
We have two teams onboard BHR that help us navigate. The first is our ace team of quartermasters in the Navigation Department. They chart our course, keep us clear of hazards and dangers, recommend course and speed adjustments to keep us on track, and provide signals to communicate with other vessels.
The other organization onboard that helps us “navigate” is our team Chaplains and Religious Programs Specialists. In addition to coordinating all religious services onboard and community service projects during port visits, they provide daily counsel, advice and comfort to help each of us “find our way.”
We have many leaders onboard that keep us on track, but we are especially grateful for the professional direction provided by our Navigation and Chaplain Departments.
Regards from the northern Pacific Ocean – Captain John Funk
You Guys Rock!
I just want to say a BIG thank you to everyone that emailed Jack! It made his day and mine! Here is the email I got from him.
Subject: OK Mom
I’m getting mad e-mails from people are you telling everyone to spam me with e-mail lol, its nice makes me feel better, thanks
We only have a few weeks left. Jack emailed me and said he is out of things to do. He has watched all of his movies (burned tons of them before he left). He has played all of his games and read all his books. So basically he is bored and ready to come home. After all the emails, I told him he now has something to do. Answer the emails! Ha Ha.
Finally found some new pics to add. I love the shots of the ship. The one with two ships is the BHR receiving replenishment. The other of the BHR must have been shot from a Helo.
The one shot of the big guy talking to the Sailors and Marines is Rear Adm. Harris, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, speaks to Sailors in the Hangar Bay during his recent visit.
Here is some news from Facebook and another letter from the Captain.
A USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Sailor with a passion for volleyball earned the chance of a lifetime – the opportunity to compete for a spot on the All-Navy volleyball team.
Machinist’s Mate Fireman Angel Williams was recently selected to audition for the All-Navy Volleyball Team. After returning to San Diego from deployment, she will travel to Mayport, Fla. on April 15 to try out for the team.
All-Navy sports teams take part in the Department of Defense Sports program and compete in Armed Forces Sports Championships against teams from the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps. Those Navy athletes that have outstanding athletic ability may then be selected to join the All-Armed Forces Team and go on to the Military World Games, as well as national and international competitions. In the past 58 years, more than 100 Navy athletes have represented the United States in the Olympic Games, winning 22 gold medals, six silver medals and six bronze medals. Williams, a native of Honolulu, has played volleyball competitively since the age of 12 and said she has always had the dream of competing on an international level. Through a friend’s research of Navy-sponsored athletic programs, she discovered the opportunity with the All Navy Volleyball Team.
“My goal is to continue to play with the All-Navy Team as long as I am in the Navy,” said Williams, “And if I do really well, eventually play for the All-American Team and compete in the Olympics.”
The application process included providing letters of recommendations from past athletic coaches and a resume of past athletic experiences.
Training and preparation for this opportunity while on deployment has required a lot of flexibility and dedication, said Williams. Training support from friends helps to keep her motivated, she said.
“I do cardio and lift weights to build my stamina and I go to the gym everyday,” she said. “Sometimes I go in the hangar bay and work on my passing and my drills with my friend, (Aviation Ordinanceman 3rd Class) Echo Sunday Tufu who also played volleyball at my high school.”
Tufu said that Williams has been extremely dedicated to training while on deployment.
“Williams brought two volleyballs for training, just in case one went overboard,” she said with a chuckle, “Now that’s dedication!”
Williams said that her firm career foundation as a Sailor makes her feel supported to take the chance and audition for the All-Navy Team. She feels like this was a once in a lifetime opportunity she could not pass up.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested in competing in sports to try-out for the All Navy Team,” she said, “It’s okay to go out and do something different for a little while, then come back to your Navy career.”
Story by MCSN Katherine Barkley
From the Captain...
Mon at 10:36pm
Greetings families, friends and lundlubbers!
Trusty Shellback Captain John Funk here reporting BHR’s return to the northern hemisphere. After a several day excursion south of the equator following our port call to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, BHR celebrated the return north by cleansing the ship of all slimy Pollywogs. Since BHR last crossed the equator in October, 132 Pollywogs have infested our great warship.
Thanks to a visit from King Neptunue Rex, Supreme Ruler of all mermaids, sharks, squids, crabs, whales, Denizens of the Deep, and all living things of the sea, Neptune’s Royal Court, and Davy Jones, BHR is Pollywog free and order and tranquility have been restored to Neptune’s domain.
From a warship fully manned by Trusty Shellbacks initiated into the “Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep”
- Captain Funk
I asked Jack if he had to go through Equator crossing again, but he reassured me that he is a Shellback and it was only for people that had not crossed the Equator before.
Over and out. Counting down the days until homecoming!
Not much news again.
Like I said, not much going on. I think the BHR will be at a place with a lot of palm trees soon. He has been spending some money and having them delivered to my work. People must think I am spending money, but no, he is spending his well-deserved reenlistment bonus.
Here is a little new about the BHR:
Bonhomme Richard’s Medical Department Earns Medical “Green H” Award
The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) was announced as a 2009 Force Health and Wellness Unit Award, or Green "H," winner March 12 by Commander, Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR).
The Green “H” award recognizes excellence in health care as well as health promotions programs.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Truong Nguyen, Bonhomme Richard Medical Officer, a number of criteria and unit programs are evaluated. Commands with exceptional curricula that greatly benefit their clientele receive the honor.
“Criteria the evaluators look at include mental health, nutrition, tobacco cessation, and overall wellness programs, said Nguyen. “They look and see how healthy the ship is and whether or not the command has sufficient proactive programs to (help benefit the crew). The award is an annual one and it is important for a ship to get it in order to get the Battle ‘E’.”
Although generally considered a medical distinction, a number of players outside the medical field played a role in contributing to the success, said Nguyen.
“A lot of people are connected to this award such as the command fitness leaders who run the fitness enhancement program, the sexual assault prevention representatives, the chaplain, as well as safety,” he said. “This is not strictly a medical award since there are so many departments involved in the ship’s wellness programs.”
The goal is to help enhance the overall health and well being of the most important resource on BHR, its people.
“This is something that doesn’t rest on just a few people, this is really a ship-wide effort and success ultimately rests upon the individual,” said Nguyen. “We are here to empower and provide the necessary tools for those wishing to enhance and live a healthier lifestyle. If a piece of equipment off a plane fails, you can always buy a replacement part. If we lose a person, that’s it. Our people are the most important piece of equipment we have, so we have to take care of them.”
Story by MC1(SW) Duke Ruchardson
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)as we begin the final phase of our adventure, took on some much-needed fuel and supplies for the voyage home. Also received the mother-lode of mail today. Lots of happy Sailors and Marines with those last few care packages to get us home.
Greetings from 7th Fleet to the family & friends of BHR.
Today marked a milestone in our deployment as our primary task is now to head home to San Diego! Yes, at long last, we have really started the beginning of the end for this adventure. Thank you for your patience with what has been a challenging schedule, a long separation, periods of limited communication, and your continued positive encouragement and support. You have made a difference in the success we achieved.
But…it ain’t over til it’s over! We have thousands of miles to steam across the mighty Pacific Ocean, qualifications to rebase, and a warship that demands constant care and attention. Our goal is to arrive in San Diego safely and our motivation is knowing we’ll be reunited with you soon!
Regards – Captain John Funk
Homecoming Woes & Another Phone Call
I got a phone call this morning as I was about to walk into work. It was 6am, dark outside and I did not want to get in the elevator for fear of losing the call. At first, I could hear him, but still a lot of static. Towards the end I had to ask him to repeat what he was saying three times. I finally told him to email what he was trying to tell me because I could not understand him. Good to hear from him, but bad that once again could not understand.
I would like to know why in the 21st century, communications can not be better? I get he is in the middle of the ocean, but still. It is maddening!
Got some homecoming info from the FRO (Family Readiness Officer). Basically the dates are the same as Jack gave me, but emphasis on flexibility. Nothing new here. I did find out that the Helos will land at an airport and not on base. It is about an hour away depending on traffic. FRO recomended going to the airport, but I am not sure. They will then go to two different Camps on base and get a 96 two days after returning. Nancy and Candy, I am not sure what we will be doing yet. I am opting for staying on base, even though I would like to see those Helos land. Please hang in there and know I appreciate your help.
It is not too long now. He is done and so am I.
I have not reported because, honestly there is not a whole lot of news to report. I am sure the Marines and Sailors are more than ready to get home.
As most of you know, I am done with this deployment and I just want it over with. Here are some things I found on Facebook
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)During our port visit to Kuala Lumpur, more than 70 Sailors and Marines volunteered at Tasputra Perkim Day Care Center for Disabled Children. They spent three days painting, completing light grounds work and interacting with local youngsters.
100311-N-1200S-078 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (March 11, 2010) Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), load a tree stump while helping maintain the grounds at the main facility of the Tasputra Perkim Day Care Center for disabled children during a community service project. The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and 11th MEU are transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley/Released)
I will let you know about any new news. Thank you for following!
After I do not know how long, because I can not remember, I know where Jack is. I think I can safely say because it was posted on FaceBook and Jack actually told me in an email. He is in Kuala Lumpur, Maylaysia. He told me in an email that it is very expensive there and is business oriented. So I take it he is not too happy there. He said he wishes the ship did not stop and just headed for home.
So here are some postings on FaceBook:
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)wrapped up another successful refueling at sea to the sounds of the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right to Party." Busy day ahead with a good scrub of the flight deck. Lots of excitement brewing in anticipation of our port visit.
Bonhomme Richard Arrives in Malaysia for Port Visit
By Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
PORT KELANG, Malaysia (NNS) -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) arrived in Port Kelang, Malaysia March 9, for a scheduled visit to the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur, about 24 miles northeast of the port town.
The ship's 2,400 Sailors and Marines are part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), currently transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations during the last half of a western Pacific deployment.
The San Diego-based ARG/MEU recently entered 7th Fleet after completing four months of maritime security operations in 5th Fleet.
"Our Sailors and Marines are looking forward to some well-earned liberty in Kuala Lumpur and being good ambassadors of the United States to the people of Malaysia," said Capt. John Funk, Bonhomme Richard commanding officer.
More than 70 Sailors and Marines are scheduled to volunteer their free time at a day care center for disabled children. Service members will spend three days painting, completing light grounds work and interacting with local youngsters.
"We are looking forward to reaching out to our friends in Malaysia and supporting them," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph "Dan" Reardon, Bonhomme Richard chaplain and lead community service coordinator. "This presents a great way to show our concern and care for disabled children."
While transiting 7th Fleet, the ARG/MEU reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.
In addition to Bonhomme Richard, the ARG consists of the command element, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7); amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47); Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Det. 1; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Det. 3; Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1, Det. B; ACU 5, Det. F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Det. B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)Sailors and Marines enjoying liberty in Luala Lumpur - tours, shopping, dining - would you believe there's a Krispy Kreme shop here? This morning, about 200 Sailors sitting down for their Second Class Petty Officer advancement exam...good luck!!
120 days at sea! My husband and I were wondering if they have land sickness like in the movie "Water World". Good question. I will be conducting a detailed interview with Jack when he gets back. If you have a question please get it to me and I will be sure and ask him. I know I have a lot of them.
Krisy Kreme, the USA is everywhere!
I have a Firm Date!
So I have a date and hopefully it will stay firm. He will fly into CP and we will get to see the helos bring them back from the BHR. I am very excited about this. I did want to see the ship come in but will take what I can get.
Found out my nephew will deploy to Afghanistan this summer. One comes home, one leaves. So it goes.
He is planning on going to jump school and then his new MOS which is Computer Phone Technician. I do not know what all this involves, but I am sure I will find out.
I also have no idea where he is, but i am sure he is safe and will be in US territory soon.
Greetings from Seventh Fleet to our families and friends. It’s a beautiful day at sea as BHR makes her way closer to home!
Of the many departments onboard that contribute to our success, the C5I Department combines both the brains and the brawn. C5I is an acronym for Command, Control, Communication, Computer, Combat Systems and Information Systems. Yes, it’s a mouthful - which is why we simply refer to them as C5I!
This team manages, repairs and operates the ship’s self defense weapons systems, all communication systems from radios to satellite communication to video teleconferences, radar and navigation systems, and all computer systems. Our computer capability is essential to our communication both internally and externally, and without these dedicated and hard working Sailors, we wouldn’t enjoy the internet, email and facebook opportunities that have kept us close to you during deployment. From Fire Controlmen, to Electronics Technicians, to Information Technicians, and to Interior Communications Technicians, these Sailors are not just “techs”, but patriots that keep BHR mission ready!
I don't know when the latest pictures where taken. Maybe this was when Jack was promoted, but I do not know. We are just waiting for more info and hoping these next seven weeks go by quickly!
Here is some FaceBook postings about the BHR:
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)here's a little deployment "fun fact" - since deploying on Sept. 24, we have taken on more than 8 MILLION gallons of fuel
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)while we're on the subject of fuel, Bonhomme Richard is a leader Navy-wide in fuel conservation, thanks to the efforts of our ship's Engineering team. In February, we saved over 225 thousand gallons below the regional fleet standard - that's more than five steaming days of fuel saved! We may take on a lot of fuel, but we use every drop efficiently.
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea – The Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) relieved the Bonhomme Richard ARG/11th MEU in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility March 1.
I Have Dates!!!!!!
Jack emailed me with dates today! As I said I won't post them here, but if you want to know ask me and I will tell you. I can say that he is not sure where he will get off the ship because he is basically separated from his company and attached to Combat Cargo. So he may get off at his duty station in CA or proceed to San Diego, the BHR's home port.
I have to post his email because you can feel his excitement. I did edit a few things, but you will get the gist.
Subject: DATES!!!!! OPEN ASAP
Well guess what I have dates! I’m not sure if I can say them over e-mail yet, but I figured since the Captain of the ship told us and they have to let us know 30 days prior and it’s pretty close to that it is ok. If not I guess they will censor this e-mail. We will be arriving and disembarking at duty stationon ***** and arriving at San Diegoon ***** …. here is the dilemma though, I don’t know if I am going to be getting off with my company at duty station or staying on the ship with combat cargo to disembark the rest of the ship and going to San Diego, so as soon as I know you will know, but those are the two dates that we have been given.
Yes I am done with brown belt, I passed! I only missed 3 moves; I was able to miss a total of 6. Our instructor might be running a black belt 1st degree course and if so and I can get a waiver from my company I will be doing that, the black belt looks the best in our uniform hehe :p You need a waiver to do it because it is suppose to be done as a Sgt. So I will see what happens, I figure I put my body threw the ware and tear of brown what is a little more for black. After black belt 1st degree there is 2nd , 3rd, 4th, 5th, and lastly 6th degree which means you are just a straight badass lol.(Love my badass son!)
Candy sent me an e-mail saying thank you, I told her it was no problem at all and she told me she was going to be there for my homecoming. That would be awesome the more people the better. As far as the Supply Core goes, that’s a Navy thing not sure what it deals with other than supplies lol, food, parts, etc. Marcie had told me she was going to be doing the 5 mile mountain climb, I can’t view the pictures though, the website is blocked on our network. So anyways I’m going to let you go.
See what I mean! Oh, another letter from Captain Funk. Sir, just bring my kid home already. Oh, and thanks for taking care of him and the rest of the Sailors and Marines!
From the Captain...
Yesterday at 8:28pm
Greetings family & friends as we conclude another month of deployment. The end of February brings us one month closer to our reunion with you.
This evening in the hangar bay we held a wonderful celebration for Black History Month. Talent, enthusiasm, fun and pride were evident in every speaker, singer, actor, and dancer. It was a great celebration of not only the traditions, history, achievements and culture of African Americans, but also the contributions of African American Sailors and Marines to the success, excellence and culture onboard BHR.
The music and dancing were the highlights of the night. From the National Anthem at the beginning of the event to the incredible performance of BHR’s own step dancing teams, this was a celebration to rival the best of the Apollo, Kennedy Center or Hollywood Bowl. The main reason – it was from the heart and soul of the patriotic Sailors and Marines of USS BONHOMME RICHARD!
Regards – Captain John Funk
Not Much News, But Homecoming is Soon!
I was not able to find any new pictures for this update. Sorry I have not updated until now. I really needed some time to recuperate and get back to feeling normal again, plus I needed to take care of some minor things like cleaning my house and getting the laundry done, which I am happy to say was done yesterday.
Jack told me via email that he will be able to give me homecoming dates very soon! They have to give the families 30 days notice in order for us to make arrangements to go. I won't be posting them here, so when I find out I will tell you all in person, so to speak. So far beside Jack's dad and I we have his Aunt Candy and her family coming to homecoming. My Sis said she would like to come too. It will be a great time and as I have learned, homecoming is a special treat all on it's own.
Oh. he is working on his Brown Belt and been very busy with that. To quote, "It is kicking my A**. One thing for sure, we will not be messing with that boy!
As I said before, Jack just wants to come home and this mommie and daddie wants him home!
On a side note, I just want to thank all of you people following this with me. It means the world to me when you take the time to ask or just talk to me about it. Thank you!
Anyway, here are the updates I ran across.
Bonhomme Richard Celebrates Supply Corps Birthday
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Drew Williams, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated the 215th birthday of the Supply Corps Feb. 23 with a cake-cutting ceremony on the ship's mess decks.
The ship's supply department has helped safely execute more than 25 replenishment-at-sea evolutions to receive parts, food, mail and fuel since fall 2009 when Bonhomme Richard began its current deployment in the Pacific.
"Every time the ship is in need of a critical part, we produce that logistical solution and look for avenues to get that part into the technicians' hands quickly," said Chief Logistics Specialist (SW/AW) Tam Colbert. "I like finding ways to make that happen."
The Supply Corps was created in 1795 when President George Washington appointed Tench Francis as the country's first surveyor of public supplies. At its inception, the Supply Corps was responsible for supporting the outfitting and operations of the Navy's six frigates.
Today, Supply Corps personnel play a key role in supporting fleet operations, in addition to providing expertise in logistics and acquisitions.
"We consider ourselves a sea-going corps. We serve all warfare communities," said Cmdr. James Albritton, Bonhomme Richard's supply officer. "The main reason why I like to work aboard ships is that I am very passionate about helping Sailors achieve their goals and achieve their greatest potential."
"One aspect about my job that I am most proud of is the level of customer service I am able to provide to the crew," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Raechelle Rabonza. "It's fulfilling to be able to make people smile. We are passionate about what we do."
As Bonhomme Richard operates beyond its 114th consecutive day at sea, the supply team's role becomes more important. The daily logistical support provided enables Bonhomme Richard to maintain the forward presence required to rapidly respond to regional crisis and execute the Navy's Maritime Strategy.
Bonhomme Richard is the command platform for the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, currently supporting maritime security operations in U.S. 5th Fleet's Area of Responsibility.
It’s another beautiful day at sea as we sail on our 116th consecutive day underway. Trust me, we’re not trying to break any records out here, but the mission comes first.
In my last note I shared with you the great contributions of our OPS team. Well, if they are the “brains” of BHR, our Weapons Department is the “brawn.” The BHR Weapons team consists of Aviation Ordnancemen and Gunner’s Mates. They handle, prepare, stow and are responsible for all weapons onboard. They also man all machine gun mounts and are exceptional marksmen. These guys aren’t just good, they’re great! You can sleep well at night knowing our Weapons’ professionals are at the ready all day, every day.
The BHR “ordies” are a proud team and represent another department that has significantly contributed to BHR’s success.
Regards from Fifth Fleet – Captain John Funk
Another Call and Another Captain Letter.
Well, the car is okay. Apparently, the battery went dead all on it's own and it did not have anything to do with it sitting here. We took it to the dealership and they replaced the battery and it is ok.
I missed a call from Jack on Friday, but received one on Saturday. I am getting used to talking over stactic and in a monotone way. I still do not have homecoming dates, but hope to soon.
Letter From the Captain:
Greetings BHR family & friends. We just wrapped up another safe and successful week of operations and your Sailors & Marines continue to achieve operational excellence.
The Operations Department is the brains of BHR as they coordinate all schedules, daily events and training requirements. The “OPS” team runs BHR’s Combat Information Center which is the hub of all operations. These specially trained Sailors operate the ship’s radars and communications systems to ensure we have the most accurate tactical information and also provide air traffic control to embarked aircraft. Additional Sailors produce intelligence, cryptology and weather information for a greater understanding of the operational environment. Decisions are based on data, and this is team that generates the majority of it.
The Operations Department is another link in the chain vital to BHR’s success.
Regards from Fifth Fleet – Captain John Funk
Another SteelBeach Picnic, Letter From the Captain & Why I Was MIA
Sorry for not updating for awhile. Honestly, there has not been a lot of news. Jack emailed me and he is very ready for the deployment to be over so he can come home. I believe the BHR is headed back home. Yea! I can not be completely sure, but he seemed to hint that this is the case.
We are having more issues with his car. Apparently, the hybrid batteries in the cars need to be driven to recharge them. We can not drive the car everyday because of insurance reasons. The battery is dead and we can jump it and start it, but when we turn the car off it does not start again without a jump. We are taking it to a dealer tomorrow and it should still be under warranty. Please pray that it is (I can't find Jack's info), because a new hybrid battery is $3,000. Yes. you read that right!
Moving on, last weekend I managed to pick up a nasty stomach bug that landed me in urgent care on Valentine's Day for 3 1/2 hours, an IV to rehydrate me, offers of a wheelchair to get to the restroom and basically putting me out of commision for a few days. Enough said. Moving on to BHR news.
The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) earned the Navy Surgeon General’s Health Promotion and Wellness Award, or Blue “H”, which recognizes excellence in command health promotion programs.
Bonhomme Richard was the only LHD class ship to receive the award with a gold star, the highest recognized honor for the Blue “H” award.
The Health Promotion and Wellness Award is an annual award sponsored by the Navy Surgeon General and managed by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center. This award encourages and rewards the promotion of health in Navy and Marine Corps organizations. Specifically, the Fleet version, which Bonhomme Richard falls under, recognizes excellence in workplace primary prevention policies, activities and outcomes.
“The many operational successes achieved by the ship can be attributed to the high level of personal readiness,” stated Lt. j.g. Sergio Coronel, Bonhomme Richard’s Medical Administrative Officer. “We can have the cleanest, safest, best ship in the world, but if you are not personally ready, or our ship isn’t medically ready, we’re not going anywhere.”
Bonhomme Richard has a variety of programs available to help Sailors and Marines make healthier lifestyle choices, the bulk of which are lead by the ship’s Hospital Corpsmen. These Sailors inform the crew about sexually transmitted diseases, hearing and sight conservation, food born illnesses, anger and stress management, hold relaxation seminars, assists others to stop smoking through tobacco sensation classes, conduct blood pressure screenings along with regular physical health assessments and immunizations for the crew.
“We have some top-notch corpsmen here on the ship and without their drive and thirst, this medical facility would not be ready,” continued Coronel. “They have that passion, drive and desire to promote these health programs. They are advocates, they live by their message and without their desire and passion people would turn away from making healthier choices in their lives.”
“You want everyone to be healthy and you have to have that desire to help people,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/FMF) Shannon Browdy, Bonhomme Richard’s senior enlisted preventive medicine technician. “I look at the programs we have on the ship and try to improve on them, but we can only advise, provide options and we make sure [the Sailors and Marines] get the information they need to make healthier decisions.”
All new check-ins are informed of these and other Bonhomme Richard health resources and policies through the command’s indoctrination (INDOC) program, which allows representatives to speck directly to the crew about healthy lifestyle choices. INDOC is the primary way of ensuring that the most important information is presented first and foremost. Bonhomme Richard’s medical department also held a health fair onboard before the commencement of their 2009 western Pacific deployment to provide additional information for the crew, the embarked commands and their families.
Achieving an overall score of more than 90 percent, Bonhomme Richard has set an example for large deck amphibious ships. By promoting healthy lifestyle choices and offering education in dealing with the demands of life in today's Navy, Bonhomme Richard is working toward improving the quality of life of everyone aboard the ship, as well as enhancing the command's military readiness.
Story by MC2 Drew Williams
From the Captain...
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 9:18am
Greetings family & friends of BHR. Today marks a special day in our deployment as we have sailed 100 continuous days at sea.
Your Sailors and Marines are long past the ability to have bragging rights and sea stories since they earned their sea service ribbon for completing at least a 90 day deployment back in December. Today they became Centurions.
There is no Navy tradition or ceremony that marks today’s distinguishing milestone. From my perspective though, the number 100 is meaningful to BHR for two reasons. First, BHR’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin, is pictured on the $100 bill. But more importantly, 100% is the effort and performance that your Sailors and Marines give every day over not just the past 100 continuous days at sea, but every day starting last June when this team came together. While it’s noteworthy to call them Centurions today, it’s an even greater privilege to call them Shipmates every day.
Regards as BHR sails past another milestone! Captain John Funk
Contact again! Training and Super Bowl
I got an email from Jack today! He is well and is headed back to this part of the world. From what I can gather he was in Djibouti for most of the time. This was posted on twitter by the ship, I am going to assume it is ok to talk about it here.
Lcpl Jack is now Cpl Jack as of Feb 1. He is very happy about this! He feels he can now get on with his Marine Corps career. This is what he said, "So I got promoted on the 1st of February and I am very happy about this, it feels like I am making progress again in my career. February 1st, 2010 was 3 years as a Lance Corporal"
He said, he did not see the Super Bowl, but was glad New Orleans won!
I can tell how much he wants to come home.I want him home. I am looking so forward to homecoming!
That is all for now. I need to email my son and make sure he knows all about things that have happened here.
Greetings family & friends of BHR. We have enjoyed another safe and successful week of operations and training thanks to the continued superb efforts of your Sailors and Marines. They are national assets!
One of the primary reasons for BHR’s success is thanks to the outstanding efforts of our Medical Professionals. BHR’s crew of doctors, a dentist and hospital corpsmen, augmented by a Fleet Surgical Team, is second to none in the Fleet. This award wining team ensures our physical and mental health is maintained at the highest level to support every possible operational requirement we may encounter. From healthy lifestyle promotions, to preventative medicine, to promoting a culture of physical fitness, and to the lifesaving actions they have performed onboard, our “docs” provide your Sailors and Marines world class medical care!
BHR’s medical facilities are some of the finest you will find on a ship at sea. However, it’s our team of medical professionals, not the equipment, that has significantly contributed to the operational success BHR has achieved.
Regards from a healthy crew! Captain John Funk
Baltimore Ravens Cheer And Stunt Team
Still no contact. I am sure the visit from the Baltimore Ravens Cheer And Stunt Team was a morale booster. Read about it below. No new pics. Hopefully soon
BHR Welcomes Baltimore Ravens Cheer And Stunt Team
Tue at 7:59pm
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) welcomed members of the Baltimore Ravens Cheer and Stunt team Feb. 1.
Sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, the group’s visit to Bonhomme Richard was a stop in the midst of a two-week excursion to the Middle East. Their visit was geared to boost the spirit and morale of the Sailors and Marines stationed aboard the warfighting vessel.
“Being out here is amazing,” said Jon Horton, Baltimore Ravens Cheer and Stunt Team’s announcer and stuntman. “(Servicemembers out here) know they are not going to see land for a long time and they really do appreciate what we do. The response we have gotten here has been fantastic…there were guys whose jaws were to the ground and I had to tell them to clap.”
“This has been a wonderful experience,” said Megan Smith, Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader. “The reception we received from the gentlemen and ladies was great.”
Two performances were held aboard Bonhomme Richard and it didn’t take long for the group to get the crew pumped up at either one, as the team’s high-energy acrobatics had those in attendance yelling their approval and wanting more. The show also involved audience participation as selected crewmembers were invited to be a part of the act through push up competitions, an “audition” involving dance and stunt routines, as well as hands-on lessons on how to lift, and be lifted, by the members of the team.
“It was fun coming out here and connecting with the military,” said Horton. “There’s no question that the 13 of us wanted to be out here. They thank us for being here, but we thank them for being out here.”
We can not thank you guys enough for the sacrifices you have made and for what you do,” said Smith. “This is just a small token of us giving back and thanking you.”
After the performances, autograph sessions were held which gave the Sailors and Marines a chance to get up close and personal with the team.
“The show was awesome,” said ABHAN Francisco Rodriguez-Vega “This was a good thing for them to do and a good thing for us to see, especially since we haven’t been to port in a while. It was a great morale booster and break from the norm.”
“The show was outstanding, good for the morale, good for the junior Sailors,” said ADC(SW/AW) Demitrius Swilley. “I enjoyed their teamwork. That’s something we have on BHR, teamwork, one team, and they demonstrated that perfectly.”
Story by MC1(SW) Duke Richardson
Just an Update, a bit More Avatar and a Letter From the Captain
Still no contact and as far as I can find out this is true with everyone. I was really hoping to see some promotion pics, but can not have everything.
I love the pics of the ship during an underway replenishment with the USNS Robert E. Peary and the one ariel view of the BHR. Also the group shot of Marines and Sailors listening to CTF-51 Commander speak during his visit to BHR Jan 30.
Here is an article about:
ESG 5 Commander Visits Bonhomme Richard
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Drew Williams, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 met the Sailors and Marines from Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Jan. 28-30.
Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris expressed appreciation for the crew's accomplishments and sacrifices while deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations. The ARG/MEU's efforts support Maritime Security Operations that help develop regional security and stability.
"Thank you for your professionalism, thank you for your teamwork, and thank you for what you are doing here keeping America safer," Harris said. "What you are doing out here matters, and you are doing it very well."
During the time he spent shipboard, Harris met with Sailors and Marines throughout the ship. Crew members described their jobs and discussed their backgrounds. Harris also presented awards and held an all hands call on the ship's flight deck.
"It was good he took time out of his schedule to come out here and meet us, spend time with us, and see what we do," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (AW/SW) Kenneth Lake. "It was nice to hear it straight from the boss that our efforts are appreciated and that we are making a difference."
Harris encouraged personnel aboard Bonhomme Richard, who've been deployed since September, to continue working hard, remain motivated and look out for each other.
"I want you all to finish safe and strong out here," he said. "There's the old saying, 'mission first, safety always.' We want to bring everybody back home. Just finish safe, and finish strong."
Harris ended his visit at Koron Range in Djibouti, where he visited with 11th MEU scout sniper and light armored reconnaissance platoons conducting sustainment training ashore.
As the ESG 5 commander, Harris is responsible for all amphibious forces deployed to 5th Fleet. He is responsible for the planning and execution of contingency response missions and maritime humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.
Bonhomme Richard is the command platform for the Bonhomme Richard ARG and 11th MEU. The ARG also consists of the command element, Amphibious Squadron 7; amphibious transport dock USS Cleveland (LPD 7); and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47); Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Det. 1; Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Det. 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Det. B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Det. F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Det. B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
Finally, another letter from the Captain:
From the Captain
Yesterday at 8:01am
Greetings family & friends of BHR. Life is great as we begin our fourth month continuously at sea. Your Sailors & Marines continue to excel operationally and are doing it with pride, professionalism and a great attitude.
Great attitudes and morale require an “all hands” effort to ensure we maintain a positive work environment and climate onboard – especially during an extended underway period. One of BHR’s primary morale leaders is our Fun Boss, Anne. Anne is a full time civilian that has been part of the ship’s company for several years and is “serving” on her second deployment. As her job title describes, fun is what she’s in charge of and she excels!
You may have noted the great entertainment opportunities Anne recently coordinated to increase the crew’s morale. She was a driving force in bringing the cast and crew of “Avatar” to BHR and she helped coordinate the two day visit of the Baltimore Ravens’ Cheerleaders we are currently enjoying.
On a more routine basis, Anne keeps us smiling by maintaining and outfitting our great gym facilities, she leads bicycle “spin” classes, she runs “Big Bucks Bingo” games, karaoke nights, ice cream socials, video and card game competitions, hangar bay “cinema at sea” and steel beach picnics – just to name a few!
Your Sailors and Marines have many morale building opportunities thanks to a climate onboard BHR where we enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
Regards – Captain John Funk
BTW, excuse me if I get some things wrong, I try but do not always understand military speak. So please you veterans out there, correct me if I am wrong about what I post.
On another note, for those of you who did not have a chance to view my daughter's wedding photos, an Army Vet, go here. Beautifull day.Password is beumler.
No Contact Again and Avatar
I think we are cut off again. He told me this would probably happen so I am not surprised. The last email was on Jan 20th.
Sorry I have not updated last week. My daughter's wedding was Jan 23rd and the following week I took vacation and stayed with my granddaughter in Mesa. I have to admit, I was very lazy and just did not want to bother much with the computer. The wedding and reception were great! We all had a wonderful time. Outside of a few mishaps going and coming, all was well. Jack's cover and gloves were on a pedestal along side a pillow, made be my sister, honoring our Donnie Boy.
The cast of Avatar visited the BHR! Nice to see the "Hollywood Types" supporting our troops. Here is what was written on Facebook
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)Some of the initial photos from the Avatar visit (NOTE: We did not take photos of EVERY person that met the cast; nor will we be posting EVERY photo we did take - that would take us a few years to do :) ).
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)the crew watched "Avatar" this evening in the hangar bay, introduced by the cast and followed by a Q&A with the cast. From producer Jon Landau to the Sailors and Marines: "Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you do!"
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)welcoming aboard some of the cast and crew from the motion picture "Avatar" -- Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Stephen Lane and producer Jon Landau. Signing autographs in the hangar bay and meeting all the Sailors and Marines.
News, Good & Bad
Sorry I have not updated much. I was not feeling well for awhile, I had my granddaugter this past weekend and my daughter's wedding is coming up this weekend. I will be taking vacation next weekend and I hope to get caught up on things.
The good news is Jack will be promoted to Cpl on February 1. It has taken a long time for this as there are so many people in the military these days and there are only so many slots open for promotions.
Bad news is the deployment has been extended. Due to the events in Haiti, this deployment will probably have to stay on patrol, or maybe help. I honestly do not know at this time. The news said that 4,000 more Marines have been deployed to help, so Jack could end up there or he could stay where he is, which I can say because it has been published, in the middle East, to continue to train and monitor that situation. This is the email I received just a few hours ago, plus a letter from the Captain and his wife.
Hey mom, I am good and doing fine. Come February 1st 2010 I will be picking up Corporal. What day is Marcie’s wedding again, I forgot and I want to try and call her before she ties the knot and goes on her honeymoon. Anyways there is a rumor going around that our deployment has been extended, I don’t know for sure but when I do you will know and when I can tell you the new date I will. Well I am going to let you go, love you
Another email from Jack
Here's the letter from Captain Funk and an attachment from his wife, Nancy:
Today at 14:29
Greetings BHR Families & Friends.
Your Sailors & Marines are performing exceptionally well. They have achieved great operational success and continue to do it safely. They are making a difference.
Our Navy has recently adopted the new theme, "A Global Force for Good." The theme is not just words, but deeds, and that is exactly what we are doing in the Fifth Fleet area of operations. That is clearly what our Navy is doing in Haiti in response to the natural disaster and support to the Haitian people.
It is very likely there will be a change to BHR's schedule as a result of the Navy's commitment to provide resources in Haiti . I anticipate we will remain on station for a longer period so the ship that is scheduled to relieve us can support the Haiti mission. As I write to you today, I do not know the exact impact to our return to San Diego , but anticipate it could be delayed. I will provide schedule information as soon it is determined.
I understand this news is disappointing as it will likely delay our homecoming. However, I am proud of the significant impact BHR has in Fifth Fleet and am just as proud of our ability to support the mission in Haiti by remaining on station so other assets can make a difference there.
Your Sailors & Marines are "a global force for good" and they demonstrate that every day!
With warm regards - Captain John Funk
Dear families, World events are foremost in our thoughts at this time. The Navy's role in Haiti , the Middle East , and the impact to the BHR are still being worked on and adjusted. Until we know more specifics, please have patience, continue to send care packages and love to your sailor, and join the FRG for events to get the support and friendship we all need. I know as soon as the ship has been tasked, we will be notified by them- until then, please try not to worry or speculate on any changes to their schedule. You all are in my thoughts as we navigate through this deployment together, Nancy Funk
So I guess we will have to be Semper Gumby, as always.
Thanks for everybody's support and concern!!!
Christmas in January & Other Things
Yesterday I received Christmas cards from Jack. They were postmarked Dec. 15th. Gee, only took a month to get here. Still it was nice to receive them. So I have Christmas cards displayed on my mantle. That is ok, because I have read of other military families leaving Christmas decorations up until the deployed member comes home.
More car problems. Jack emailed and said the CA DMV sent him a letter about his car registration being expired. He asked me to take care of it. Thankfully, I spoke to a really nice woman and she told me what to do. At first, she said I should send the letter back with a note saying the car is registered in our state. I told her I just received cards from Jack postmarked Dec. 15th, so that was not an option. It worked out in the end as she found another solution.
It might be possible that Jack is going to help out in the area of the world that is currently in devastation. Maybe, maybe not. I went out on a limb and asked him in a email if he was going to help. Nothing more.
This is the FaceBook entry concerning that:
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti, and also to those men and women who are gearing up to go and provide relief assistance.
Don't know what to make of it. Here is another entry left.
Greetings families and friends of BONHOMME RICHARD. Today is another beautiful day at sea and another day where your Sailors and Marines continue to perform at an exceptional level. They make the challenging environment we operate in daily look easy. Believe me, challenging it is, easy it is not.
The BHR Air Department is one of the many teams onboard that work in hazardous and challenging conditions for a ship at sea. We operate a very busy 844 foot long airport. With six different types of aircraft embarked ranging from helicopters to jets, the flight deck is a hub of activity where aircraft are constantly repositioned, maintenance work is performed, and most significantly, we launch and recover aircraft in every type of weather, sea state and temperature.
The entire Air Department is quite a sight to see and as well as a sea of colors. Air Department Sailors can be easily distinguished by the color of their flight jerseys. The “yellow shirts” are Landing Signal Enlisted Sailors (LSEs) that launch and recover aircraft and the senior enlisted leaders. The “blue shirts” run the chocks and chains that keep the aircraft secured to the ever moving flight deck. The “red shirts” are aviation fire fighters and damage control experts always ready to respond to a fire or emergency. The “green shirts” are aircraft maintenance personnel. The “white shirts” are safety observers. The “red shirts (with black stripes)” are aviation ordnance personnel. The “purple shirts” (or “grapes” are they are affectionately known) are the aircraft refueling teams responsible for not only fueling aircraft, but also the thousands of miles of piping, storage and purifying required to deliver clean, clear and bright fuel for safe flight operations.
From the Air Boss in the tower, to the hangar bay crew, to the grapes in fuel pump rooms, BHR’s Air Department plays a significant role in our amphibious mission. They are courageous and dedicated patriots representative of the quality of all BHR Sailors and Marines.
Regards – Captain John Funk
If anyone get info, please let me know. Email me privately.
BTW, Thanks for the support you all show me.
Reenlistment: Mission Accomplished
It has finally happened. Jack has now signed up for another, I believe four years of service to our country. It is hard to believe he has been in for four years. But he has. I have to admit it has been a wild ride. From Bootcamp to SOI, to two years at 8th & I in Washington DC. If Jack would not of been sent to that duty station, I probably would had never gone to see our nation's Capitol. That was such an exciting trip that I will not soon forget. And now this deployment.
So as you can see, I did receive photos of the reenlistment ceremony. I like the one where he looks like he is starting to break into a smile. Marines never smile. Not in their Bootcamp photos, which by the way look like they are part scared to death and part shell-shocked. I think they only smile after a couple of beers. Oh and they are most certainly no smiles in formation.
Jack also told me that he may not be able to respond to my emails for awhile. I guess I am used to that, but it still stinks.
I also noticed he is sporting a High and Tight haircut. His head was totally shaved when he left, so I will have to find out why he changed. Personally, I like seeing a little hair on his head. Also it was great to see him after 3 months, 23 days, 15 hours, 2 minutes and oh I don't know, maybe 30 seconds. Yes, I know, I am a goober. Military moms get a pass. Not to mention I am about to watch my only daughter, former soldier tie the knot in a couple of weeks. Much excitement there!
This weekend I was up late/early but anyway it was around 3am and my phone started flashing and he had emailed me. So I emailed him back and he answered me back! I told him I was watching the movie Fargo and he told me he was at SOI and 8th & I with a Marine that was from that town. I was just glad to be communicating in real time.
Anyway, I hope I get return dates soon. I won't post them here but when I know than I will let people know. We decided to rent one those things to tow his car so we do not have to drive two cars. Trust me I will not do a less than 24 hour trip again. I just hope the dates stay consistent and we are not waiting on pins and needles to hear when we leave. I am not counting on it thought.
Semper Gumby is the mantra.
Letter from Captain and minding our p's and q's online
Well I could not find any reenlistment pictures online so I may have to wait until he gets back.
This is an article about internet OSPEC from Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Bill Houlihan, Office of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors, family members and Navy commands are increasingly relying on social and emerging media to stay connected with those in their personal and professional lives.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West is chief among them.
More than 13,000 people from around the world have signed up to follow West on his Facebook page. The vast majority are Sailors, Navy family members and military supporters. It is important that the Navy family remain vigilant in not sharing potentially sensitive or secure information by any non-secure means – to include letters, email, telephone conversations or social media.
West has seen reports of potential threats to the Navy and said that while the country remains at war, clearly there are those who would want to glean information from anywhere they can get it to use against the Navy and the nation.
"What we say and where we say it has never been more important," said West. "Operational Security [OPSEC] has to be stressed at every level and I'm going to make sure our Sailors understand that very clearly."
West said that he's consistently surprised at how effective social media has become in terms of getting quality information to the fleet. He's been particularly aggressive in using Facebook and Twitter to make Sailors and families aware of Navy and DoD initiatives such as wounded warrior care, the Post 9/11 GI Bill and sexual assault prevention.
There are threats, though, that he believes are real and potentially very dangerous. "Anyone who thinks our enemies don't monitor what our Sailors, families and commands are doing via the Internet and social media had better open their eyes," said West. "These sites are great for networking, getting the word out and talking about some of our most important family readiness issues, but our Sailors and their loved ones have to be careful with what they say and what they reveal about themselves, their familes or their commands."
West said the Navy family needs to avoid discussing information about their units, such as location, schedules and specific missions or assets.
"That's standard OPSEC," said West. "But we're not talking about 'loose lips sinking ships' anymore, it's more than that. Our enemies are advanced and as technologically savvy as they've ever been. They're looking for personal information about our Sailors, our families and our day-to-day activities as well as ways to turn that information into maritime threats."
Sailors are getting it, said West. He said he bases that opinion on the feedback he receives at all hands calls and via social media, itself.
"If you have to wonder whether what you're about to type could be used against you or your shipmates and your family, you probably shouldn't say it," West said.
I agree since I know that our deployed service members, while maybe not being deployed to a combat zone are still targets. Remember the USS Cole. More recently, Fort Hood. We are lucky to be able to get information, but on the same respect, we must be careful. My son's life and many other sons, husbands, nephews...lives depend on it.
Here is another letter from the Captain.
From the Captain...
Yesterday at 5:26am
Greetings Family & Friends of BONHOMME RICHARD. Life is great as we sail into the new year with expectations for continued operational success, safety and reunion with our families. Your Sailors & Marines continue to perform at an exceptional level with great pride and professionalism. I know you are as proud of them as I am!
One primary source of pride onboard BHR is the superb behind-the-scenes efforts of our award wining Supply Department. One of the most obvious tasks - and clearly the number one quality of life issue – is the Herculean effort required to feed more than 2,500 personnel 3-4 meals a day. From the ordering of food, to its storage, preparation and clean up, this is a daily operation that never rests.
But it’s not just about the food. Other quality of life operations include running laundry every day for thousand of uniforms and clothing, running two ship’s stores that sell everything from socks and shampoo to DVDs and candy, and keeping soda and drink machines fully stocked. The Supply Department is also responsible for managing the parts support for not only a billion dollar warship, but for all embarked aircraft, vehicles and support equipment. When we need a part, our Supply team of professionals always responds.
BHR’s Supply Department is an essential element to our quality of life and operational success. They are a large part of the reason life is great on BHR!
Regards – Captain John Funk
Well, there is not much new except it is my birthday today and I GOT A CALL!
I was so surprised when at 6:30 this morning my cell phone rang and it said Unknown Number. I was home from work because I wasn't feeling well and not feeling very celebratory about the day because of a number of reasons, but Jack's call made my day! I never imagined he would call. It was still hard to hear but better than on Christmas day. I just listened very hard, waited for the delay and spoke monocratically (I am not sure if that is a word).
We spoke for a good 10 or 15 minutes and he told me a few things which I am glad to say I can tell you all about here.
1. He is getting promoted when he gets home!!!! Yea, finally!!!
2. He still could not tell me what the bad thing was that happened, but will when he gets home.
3. I was right about the original reenlistment spot(Big rock with a flag). I will find out why that stop was cancelled when he returns.
4. I am not sure where he is but I asked him if he was floating and he said yes.
His reenlistment has been pushed back until Friday and he is still a day ahead so that means Thursday here. Not sure why because of the static on the phone. He also won't be able to show me the pics until he gets home so let's hope FaceBook/Twitter guy will catch a few of him. I told him to try and make that happen. Just tell them Mommie said so....yea uh huh.
New Years, Marine Promotions, and an Email Finally
Communications are finally back up. For the time being anyway.Jack apologized for the Christmas call because he was a bit worried about some financial issues. Thank goodness they are resolved now.
He is also upset because something that was supposed to happen did not. I can not divulge here, but if you want to know, ask me personally. He will be reenlisting next Wednesday on the flight deck of the BHR. The other destination was cancelled. I think most of us knew what it was. I am hoping there will be pics of the reenlistment.
Jack is really wanting to be home. I want this deployment over with. He will be getting out of the Infantry. His new MOS will be in information/technology. He loves pounding the keyboard so I am sure he will be happy with his new job.
That is all for now. Please pray for my son to make it through the rest of this deployment. Thanks again for the support, both here and where ever he is.
Christmas on the BHR and the Call.
Well, I won't keep you on the edges of your seats. I did receive a call. In fact I received two. One in the morning and one later in the evening. Unfortunately I could barely hear Jack because of all the static on the phone. Needless to say I had a bit of a breakdown after the first call because I could not understand him and he was upset that I had not yet been able to take care of some business for him. Nobody's fault really, just issues we did not know about. Thankfully I was able to take care of the issue today.
All I can say is I have learned so much from this deployment and the next time we will do things differently. I realized I do not have enough control here and I am tired of explaining that my son, "Is a deployed member of the military and I need to take care of this issue." Only to be told I have to jump through this hoop and that hoop. Sorry, just venting a bit.
We did have a nice Christmas Day with my daughter, her fiance and my granddaughter and spent time with our other son, daughter-in-law and twin grandsons on Sunday. I posted the pictures that I sent to Jack in an email, but I am not sure if he got them. I did get from him that email is off and on from his phone call, so I just do not know. The pics are from my best friend, Nancy, who is basically another mom to Jack, the next is his Aunt Carol (another Marine Mom, 2 Iraq deployments under her belt) and uncle Victor, Me and Jack's Dad, Jack's brother and wife and twin nephews and finally Jack's grandparents. Thanks guys for the effort!
I am now just waiting to hear homecoming dates. Deployment is more than half over with so hopefully it will go fast.
Also, sorry I have been a little lacking on updates, but I have been busy with Christmas and other things.
Happy New Year everyone!
Sorry I have not updated in awhile. I have just been busy with the holidays and such. I am absolutely awaiting a call from Jack. In fact my phone is attached to me. I do not know when the call will come, but hopefully it will come on Christmas Day when we are at my daughter's house so he can speak with many of us.
The BHR has made many videos with Christmas greetings. I still have not figured out how to put a video here so just go to these links and you can see the the videos.
I know he will appreciate it. Go here to watch the holiday greetings from the BHR.
Thanks to all who have helped me on this journey. From providing info, contributing to care packages and just listening and providing me support when I am having breakdowns because I can not seem to take care of Jack's business. As some of you know, we lost out grandson in June, that with my son being gone this Christmas is proved to be a challenge.
The deployment is almost over. I am so looking forward to homecoming. I have already experiencedit with my nephew and I can not wait to watch my son sail in and be back on American soil.
I am looking forward to homecoming and seeing the BHR sail back into the harbor.
Well, there is not much going on picture wise. I still do not know when I will be able to communicate with Jack. At least I managed to take care of the issues that needed to be taken care of. I think he will be reenlisting soon. Hopefully I will get full report on that when it happens.
Greetings family and friends. Life is great on BHR as we continue safe and effective operations. Please know your Sailors and Marines are performing at peak efficiency in support of our Maritime Strategy.
Our award winning Engineering Department was recently recognized as the Navy’s Energy Conservation Award winners for the third consecutive year. During a presentation in Washington DC, our ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Joyce Murtha, received the award on our behalf from the Secretary of the Navy.
The BHR Engineers lead the Fleet in safe, effective and efficient operations. They are the unseen heros that make BHR come to life. It’s amazing what they can do with a drop of salt water! From sea water, they create steam that is converted to propulsion, electricity, radar energy, and air conditioning. Sea water is also converted into potable water for drinking, cooking and showering for personal use as well as into feed water for the ship’s boilers. Sea water is also the primary source of water for firefighting, toilets and ballasting for well deck operations.
The Engineers run almost every piece of equipment vital to safe operations as well as the crew’s quality of life. They are essentially the BHR city managers and serve as electricians, plumbers, firefighters, welders, damage control experts, hydraulic specialists, aircraft elevator technicians, …you get the point…they run it all – and they run it exceptionally well!
Our Engineers represent all that is great about BHR. Dedicated Sailors committed to making BHR the best ship in the Fleet!
Regards from the other side of the world - Captain John Funk
I was so surprised when my phone rang about 1:30 this afternoon. I did not recognize the number and almost did not answer it. But thankfully I did and it was Jack!
All is well with him and he made a point in telling me that he could not tell me where he was, what he was doing and the call was probably being monitored so do not violate OSPEC!
All I could say was, "I know, I get it, just tell me how you are!"
Apparently, he is well. We mostly discussed financial business he needs me to take care of. Which I am happy to report is all on track.
He did tell me that I will receive another phone call in the near future, but could not say when. I told him, "I get it!", Not hard to figure out. Yea!
He received his Christmas care package and loved it, especially the little tree I sent him. I can not figure out how to put it in this entry so I am just going to add it to the album above.
I will update as I find things out. Thanks again for helping make my son's Christmas a bit better!
Go Navy, Beat Army
I am a little late with this but what can I say, yesterday was my daughter's wedding shower and I was getting wrapped up in toilet paper to simulate a wedding dress. So Google tells me that Navy won the football game against Army. I have no comment because I not only have a Marine, I have former Army and Navy in my family.
This video was on FaceBook and since I was out of town yesterday I am just getting to updating today. Go here to see a video the Marines and Sailors made about an Army spy aboard the BHR. It is really hilarious.
They should all be celebrating since Navy won.
I received an email from Jack via a SSgt. He is well and asking me to take care of a few things for him. I am still hoping the black out will be lifted soon.
John Finn and Another Letter from the Captain
Still not much news. BHR posted this tidbit about John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient on FaceBook. It deserves reposting here. There is a picture of John Finn in the C51 folder. Following is another letter from Capt John Funk. Also the BHR is going to post a trivia question everyday and is giving everyone a chance to earn their "Facebook" Surface Warfare Specialist Qualification because there are many sailors earning theirs. The question is after the Capt's letter.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The nation's oldest living Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient arrived on historic Ford Island Dec. 6 to view a 2009 USS Arizona Memorial biodiesel white boat named in his honor.
After being greeted by Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, and Capt. Richard Kitchens, commanding officer of Naval Station (NAVSTA) Pearl Harbor, MOH recipient retired Navy Lt. John Finn stepped aboard his boat and was hosted for a tour of the harbor.
"This is the best thing that's ever happened to me," said Finn, as he took a look at the boat, one of five vessels that shuttle thousands of visitors a day to the USS Arizona Memorial and the first to use new energy-efficient clean fuel technology.
Finn received his Medal of Honor from Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz for heroism and distinguished service during the Japanese attack on Oahu. Finn is now the sole survivor of 15 Sailors who received the Medal of Honor for their actions Dec. 7, 1941.
Smith and Kitchens helped Finn step aboard his boat before Finn was taken for a ride past the USS Arizona Memorial.
"Thank you for everything that you have given to our country. It is a privilege and an honor to present this boat to you," said Smith. "Welcome to your boat sir."
Chief Boatswain's Mate Jeff Iovine and Boatswain's Mate Seaman Evan King, both assigned to NAVSTA Pearl Harbor's Arizona detachment, had the opportunity to talk with Finn during the visit.
"It was really exciting and an honor just to hear him talk about his career and all the things that he's seen and done," said Iovine.
"He was really great and very spirited," King said. "He is a 100-year-old war hero and is still kicking it with fire."
Upon returning to the pier, Finn thanked the Sailors for his memorable day before departing historic Ford Island.
On Dec. 7 Finn attended the Klipper Monument Flag Raising ceremony at Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe, where he visited his namesake building. The John W. Finn Building houses the headquarters for Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Greetings family and friends of BHR from half way around the world. We continue to operate safely and your Sailors and Marines are performing at a high level of proficiency and expertise. I am honored to serve with such dedicated, proud and courageous men and women.
Speaking of dedicated patriots, BHR has one of the finest family support teams in the Fleet. Our Ombudsmen, Rhonda, Nadine and Marcedes, are unpaid volunteers that act as my liaisons to our families back home. They have extensive training in the many resources available to our military families. “Family readiness” is vital to BHR’s combat readiness and these wonderful volunteers ensure we are ready for any family challenges both at sea and ashore. Our Sailors can perform their jobs with peace of mind knowing that we have a superb team back in San Diego that cares about their families. From newsletters, to emails, to phone calls, to meeting coordination and to individual family support, our Ombudsmen, Navy wives with their own families to care for, dedicate countless hours to support our mission.
BHR’s Family Readiness Group is led by the wonderful team of Ja’net and Jen. They are also unpaid volunteers with their own families who face the challenge of being separated by several oceans from their loved ones. They have created smiles and fun across the globe as they organize events for our families and have sent decorations to the crew for the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – to include enough Christmas cards for every Sailor and Marine onboard! Everyone feels special thanks to their efforts.
As BHR sails far from home, please take a moment to reflect on the “service” of our unpaid volunteers, Rhonda, Nadine, Marcedes, Ja’net & Jen. They are essential to our mission success – at sea and ashore. On behalf of a grateful crew, thank you ladies for your service!
Regards – Captain John Funk
Bonhomme Richard is one of eight Wasp-class amphibious assault ships. Can you name the other seven (in order)?
Now I am sure we could all Google this and find out but can any of you do it from memory or knowledge?
No News is Good News, No News is Good News...
That is my mantra. Can't say I like it but what's a Marine mommie to do? The newest pictues are of the Deck Department and the C5I Department - Electronics. These are all Navy, nothing wrong with that but on FaceBook another Marine mom posted that she would like to be able to see her Marine son. Me too!!! Oh well, it is still fascinating to see how this "floating city" operates.
Today more than 80 sailors were promoted to Petty Officers and five Sailors were meritoriously promoted. There was about eighty-five pictures on FaceBook of this event. That is too many to put here but if you would like to see go here.
Today is Pearl Harbor Day. The BHR commented on this and this is what they said:
Monday, December 7 marks the 68th anniversary of the “date that will live in infamy” and one of the most pivotal moments in both Navy and American history -- the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, at 7:53 a.m., a wave of 181 planes, launched from a Japanese carrier strike force about 200 miles north of the island of Oahu, began its devastating attack on the unsuspecting American fleet at Pearl Harbor. Japanese planes attacked the ships anchored in Pearl Harbor, as well as the military airfields on Oahu, such as Hickam, Kaneohe, Ewa and Ford Island, in order to prevent the Americans from launching an intercept against the Japanese fighters.
More than 90 ships were anchored in Pearl Harbor that morning, but the Japanese primary targets were the battleships. Seven of the eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were moored on Battleship Row, along the southeast shore of Ford Island. The eighth, USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) was in drydock across the channel.
Within the first minutes of the attack all the battleships on Battleship Row had taken bomb and/or torpedo hits. Most notable was the USS Arizona (BB 39). At about 8:10 a.m., the Arizona was mortally wounded by an armor-piercing bomb which ignited the ship's forward ammunition magazine. The resulting explosion and fire killed 1,177 crewmen, the greatest loss of life on any ship that day and about half the total number of Americans killed. The battleships USS West Virginia (BB 48) and USS Oklahoma (BB 37) both sank, while USS California (BB 44), USS Maryland (BB 46), USS Tennessee (BB 43) and USS Nevada (BB 36) suffered varying degrees of damage in the first half hour of the raid.
The Nevada (BB-36), despite her damage, managed to get underway and move down the channel toward the open sea. Before she could clear the harbor, a second wave of 170 Japanese planes, launched 30 minutes after the first, appeared over the harbor. They concentrated their attacks on the Nevada, hoping to sink her in the channel and block the narrow entrance to Pearl Harbor. On orders from the harbor control tower, Nevada (BB-36) beached herself at Hospital Point, keeping the channel clear.
The attack ended less than two hours later, with the American forces suffering heavy losses. Twenty-one ships were sunk or damaged. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged, the majority hit before they had a chance to take off. More than 2,400 Americans, including 68 civilians, were killed with an additional 1,178 military and civilian wounded.
Japanese losses were comparatively light. Twenty-nine planes, less than 10 percent of the attacking force, failed to return to their carriers.
The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress, calling December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” Following Roosevelt’s speech, Congress formally declared war against Japan. U.S. public opinion of the war shifted from isolationism to support, uniting a divided nation now committed to victory in World War II.
Today, December 7 is an opportunity to reflect on the events of 68 years ago, as well as to consider the lessons that apply today.
December 7 also has personal significance to many Sailors, including Master Chief Avionics Technician (AW/SW) Jerome Faulk, AIMD’s Leading Chief Petty Officer.
“My father was in World War 2 and the injuries he sustained in that war reduced his time on this earth,” he said. “December 7th was an event that set into motion many things that brought this country more together in terms of patriotism and national unity. Though my father passed away 38 years ago, his service motivated me to join and I’m proud that I’ve served for 27 years.”
December 7, 1941 saw many acts of courage and bravery from Sailors, such as Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John W. Finn, who was stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay. Finn is credited with shooting down at least one Japanese Zero while taking 23 rolls of shrapnel. He stayed on duty the rest of that day to keep his men ready for the next possible attacks.”
Finn was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in recognition of his heroism and service that day. He is presently the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, having celebrated his 100th birthday this year. He is also the only living Pearl-Harbor-Day Medal of Honor recipient.
Other profiles of courage and bravery include Chief Watertender Peter Tomich and Petty Officer Dorie Miller.
Miller was a mess attendant assigned to the battleship West Virginia. During the attack, Miller helped carry wounded shipmates to safety. While aiding his mortally wounded captain, Miller manned a 50 caliber machine gun until running out of ammunition and ordered to abandon ship. Miller later received the Navy Cross for his actions.
Tomich served aboard USS Utah. When the Utah was going down after heavy attack, he ensured his crew evacuated the machinery spaces first, then personally secured boilers, so losing his life as a result. Tomich was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.
“He [Tomich], as the Chief, put the welfare and safety of his Sailors first,” said Faulk. “That is the true essence of leadership and the true example of what all leaders, especially Chief Petty Officers, should try to emulate in service to the Navy and this great country.”
Although the Japanese success was overwhelming, it was not complete. They failed to damage any American aircraft carriers, which by a stroke of luck, had been absent from the harbor. They also didn’t damage the shoreside facilities at Pearl Harbor, which played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II.
Even Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, recognized the potential American response to the attack when he allegedly said “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." (Ironically, there is no historical evidence to support whether Yamamoto actually spoke, or penned these words. The quote is best known from the 1970 motion picture “Tora, Tora, Tora,” a historical portrayal of the Pearl Harbor attack).
Today, numerous memorials and commemoration ceremonies throughout the country serve as reminders to all Americans of that fateful day. The most well known is the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, which hosts more than 1.5 million visitors a year. Navy ships entering and leaving Pearl Harbor man the rails as their ship passes the memorial, to honor the Sailors and Marines entombed there.
By MCCS(SW/AW) Dave Nagle
I like this update:
Deck Sailor Improving BHR, One Space at a Time
Yesterday at 7:48am
When it comes to ship preservation, the old Navy motto is “paint once for dust, and twice for rust,” but there is one Sailor aboard striving to reclaim the prestigious brilliance that Bonhomme Richard once held when it was first commissioned over 11 years ago.
Seaman Jesus Molina of Bonhomme Richard’s Deck Department is head of the ship’s spray team and is resiliently striving to accomplish the never-ending task of perfection, one space at a time.
“Every time I get done spraying out a space, I like that fact that it looks clean and new,” said Molina. “I know I can’t make it brand new, but I can make it better. When departments and divisions clean their spaces, the work I do is preserved. I try to do my best and make it look nice because when it looks good, it represents me.”
Having been aboard for only a few months, Molina was recruited to the spray team during the ship’s critical INSURV inspection period. During the preparatory stage of INSURV, he learned the fine art of spraying some of the most challenging spaces on board while preserving some of the ship’s most neglected and sea worn areas.
“Having a ship this size with a lot of real estate, you have to have a measured approach of preserving the material condition with a proper spray of paint, covering section by section of the ship,” commented Capt. Jonathan Harden, Bonhomme Richard’s Executive Officer. “The essential work I have seen on board is quality. You need a team of folks that are effectively trained that can do that, working through a list so that it won’t become a project too big to handle in the future.”
“Over a year ago, [Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Shuler] asked me to help him spray-out some Marine spaces with him,” explained Molina. “Since that time I have been part of the spray team and took it over completely once Shuler left the ship.”
“[Molina] is nothing less than amazing,” said Boatswain’s Mate (SW) 1st Class Ernesto Harris, Deck Department’s 2nd Division leading petty officer. “His work is very critical in maintaining the integrity of spaces, enabling the ship to last longer, and he takes ownership of the spaces when completing the preservation.”
Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Molina moved to the United States at the age of seven. In spring of 2008 he joined the Navy and recently became an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony earlier this year on board Bonhomme Richard before the start of the 2009 deployment.
Along with leading the ship’s spray team, standing watches and attending to his normal deck responsibilities, Molina is continually bettering himself by working on his Master Helmsman and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualifications. As an undesignated deck Seaman, Molina has embraced his responsibilities and hopes to strike Boatswain’s Mate as his permanent rate in the Navy.
“I like working outside and the job that I do,” said Molina. “One of my favorite things is standing watch late at night and seeing the stars in the sky so clearly. Don’t get me wrong, it stinks getting up so early sometimes, but I get a calming feeling when I am out at sea.”
As you walk around the ship, notice some of the immaculate spaces on board and give credit to the Sailors from the respected departments and divisions. But behind every clean space, there was most likely a hard working Seaman who’s pride and professionalism has made this ship a little more beautiful and preserved it’s life just that much longer.
Story by MC2 Drew Williams
Finally another message from Captain Funk:
From the Captain...
Sat at 12:06pm
Greeting families & friends of BHR.
Today was a great day at sea! We “topped off” at a drive through gas station and grocery store while underway. That’s the non-Navy way of saying we conducted a replenishment at sea.
Just after sunrise, BHR pulled up alongside a replenishment ship and received hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel for our propulsion plants and aircraft, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of food and supplies. All of this was to top-off and feed the boilers, aircraft and Sailors and Marines that make BHR come to life. It takes a lot of fuel to fill over 1.8 million gallons of boiler fuel tanks and over 600,000 gallons of aircraft fuel tanks. And as you know, it takes A LOT of food to feed and nourish the 2,500 hungry, healthy and strong men and women onboard.
The size of everything onboard BHR is impressive. However, the numbers pale in comparison to the magnitude of the teamwork it takes to conduct an underway replenishment. It is an all-hands evolution from the top to the bottom of the ship and from the most junior seaman, fireman and airman to the Captain. It all starts weeks to days before the event with schedule coordination from the Operations and Supply Departments. The next step is meeting the replenishment ship thanks to the efforts of the Combat Systems, Operations, Navigation and bridge teams. As the two ships join up, sail alongside one another from 180 to 200 feet apart, and pass fuel and supplies back and forth across lines and via helicopters, the enormity of the effort becomes clear. The bridge team handles the ship driving as the conning officers and master helmsmen keep BHR in the perfect spot. The Deck Department Boatswain Mates handle the rigging between the two ships and fueling stations. The Engineers and Air Department Sailors, “snipes” and “grapes,” align miles of pipes and valves to send fuel to the correct tanks and their labs check the fuel’s quality. The “above deck” Air Department Sailors run the flight deck and air space around the ship. The helicopter crews sling the loads between the two ships. The Combat Cargo team hooks the loads to the helicopters (standing directly underneath the helicopter as it lowers closer to the deck to hook up!). The Supply Department coordinates all movement of stores once they are on deck. It’s a lot like going to the grocery store and unloading in the kitchen – except you have to store food and supplies for a family of 2,500! This part takes a while, but with the support of additional Sailors & Marines, it’s a ballet of sweat, effort and teamwork.
So that’s how we started our weekend. Just another day at sea….
Regards from a great team – Captain John Funk
I know this is a long update, but well worth the info! Please say a prayer that I will hear from Jack for Christmas. That is really all I want.
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
It looks like the crew of the BHR are getting ready for Christmas! Santa even paid an early visit. I am glad they get to do this, but I am sure they would all like to be home with their loved ones.
There is not much news. I do know there is a lot of training involving the 11th MEU going on. The USS Cleveland and the USS Rushmore are ashore while the BHR is floating. I do not know when they will be underway again. As I said before there is a blackout going on. Jack gets my emails but can not return them.
When I got home today I had a piece of mail that said, "attempted not known." My first thought was his care package was going to be returned, but it was actually a MotoMail I had sent him at the first of October. (Motomail is like a fax that is sent to the ship and then printed and given to the deployed service member.) Ok, I had heard through various sources that MotoMail was down, but that was two months ago when I had sent it.
Thanks to everyone who sent the digital pictures. We have some great shots of people holding signs wishing him a Merry Christmas. There is still time if you want to join in. Co-workers beware, I am coming with my camera!I will post them here after Jack gets them. I know he has had access to this site so I don't want him to see them before i send them to him.
Well, that is it for today. Hopefully I will have more news soon.
More Thanksgiving and Some Training
I found some more pictures of the BHR Thanksgiving. I also found a few pictures of the 11th MEU training. It has already been put out there where they are but I am not going to post is here.
I also found out that they have been blacked out from communicating with us, but they are still receiving emails from home. There is also a problem with snail mail as some things have been returned. His care package has not been returned so I hope it got to him.
I am hoping after tonight I will have some more info, but of course I do not really know.
Stay tuned and say a prayer for our military. Also say a prayer for this military mommie who does not know what is in store for her son. Trying to deal but it is hard.
Thanksgiving on the BHR
Sorry I am a little slow updating. For some reason I had no desire to open my computer over the holiday weekend. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! There were 60 pictures on FaceBook of the holiday feast on the ship and there is no way I was going to put them all on here, but I pick a few I thought were good. It does not look like the Marines and Sailors were lacking in the food department! I only wish there were more pics of the Marines!
Still, no word from Jack. This is hard but I still feel fortunate to have access to information.
I received an interesting email from Bill H and he agreed to let me publish it here. It has to do with OSPEC and why security is so important. Thanks Bill!
It’s good that through your blog you regularly emphasize the need to maintain the security of military operations.Although these posters (among a myriad of others) appeared in WW II, they are no less relevant today than they were over 60 years ago.
Being an ex-submariner I’m familiar with an alleged breach of security that took place in 1943.
U.S. submarines had been frequently escaping Japanese depth charge attacks.A U.S. Congressman, Andrew May, returning from a war zone trip held a press conference.During the conference he proudly proclaimed that American submarines had a high survival rate because Japanese depth charges were typically fuzed to explode at too shallow a depth.The story was picked up by wire services and appeared in several newspapers.At some point after the story appeared, the Japanese began setting their depth charges to explode at a deeper and more effective depth.
VADM Lockwood, commander of the submarine force in the Pacific, later estimated that May’s comment may have cost the United States Navy the loss of a many as ten submarines, and as many as 800 submarine crewmen killed.
Whether the story is actually true (most submarine historians believe it to be true) is beside the point.The story points out how a simple comment, perhaps made in passing by an unthinking person, can have disasterous effects.
In this modern day with a plethora (I found almost 200 and wasn’t even trying) of social networking sites, E-mail of every description and the ubiquitous state-of-the-art cell phone, it’s almost impossible for the military to completely seal itself off from the inadvertent release of classified and operational information by service personnel themselves.That’s why it’s so important for friends and families of service members to understand the stake they have in keeping information about future military operations to themselves.“Loose lips” can kill.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and keep up your great work!
As BHR sails into December, we are thankful for the wonderful support and good wishes from our facebook community. Although at times your Sailors and Marines may not be able to communicate with you directly, our Public Affairs Officer, Senior Chief Dave Nagle, and I make it a point to keep the crew informed of the continued encouragement we receive from you on facebook. Thanks!
Over the past week we have competed training events ranging from flight operations to weapons shots and from damage control drills to refueling & replenishment at sea. Your Sailors & Marines continue to excel in these hazardous events with a focus on adhering to detailed procedures, safety and teamwork. Each day is an extraordinary display of camaraderie.
Thank you for your continued understanding of the need not to speculate on the ship’s mission, operations, schedule, location or communication. The safety and security of your loved ones and friends is one of my missions and I need your help to achieve it. Please know that they are healthy, well fed (you saw the pictures of the Thanksgiving feast!) and mission focused.
Regards – Captain John Funk
Why there is not much word. Letter from the Captain
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Apparently someone breached OPSEC. Not here but on FaceBook. So as a result we are not getting much information. I also think that is another reason I have not heard anything from Jack. Not good, but there is nothing I can do. I heard that the FaceBook site was taken down, but I was just on there and it appears to be still up. I get that people do not understand that the military is adamant about how they conduct business and sometimes it seems overkill, but they have their rules and we, (military families) have to follow them.
I read in Twitter that they received mail today. I hope Jack's package got to him today.
I found some pics on Marine.mil of the 11th MEU and I will try to save some and post them tomorrow or this weekend. Just tired and in need of this four day weekend!
I appreciate anyone digging up info on the ship and deployment.
From the Captain
Yesterday at 6:20pm
Greeting fans of the Sailors and Marines of USS Bonhomme Richard.
This week as we sail, we have many things to be thankful for; the Sailors and Marines that make BHR the great warship she is, families and friends that support and encourage us and one another, and a unique means to share our experiences and stories of life at sea.
I know you’ll agree that Facebook has been a fantastic way for us to share the BHR story with you, provide an opportunity to share your comments of support and encouragement, and provide a place to develop a community of mutual support, understanding and respect. I want to keep it that way and I know you do as well.
To do that, we need your help. Here are the “rules of engagement” – Navy language for the protocols and courtesies required to maintain this site:
Please do not comment or speculate on the ship’s mission, operations, schedule, location or communications. There are some things we can’t and won’t talk about on Facebook. Remember that Facebook is a public site – everybody can see what’s on there. We will only share information we are able to share with you. Keeping you informed is important to me, but more important is the safety and security of your Sailors and Marines.
Please keep the dialogue with each other respectful. Posts that are demeaning or disrespectful of another member of our Facebook community will be deleted. We’re all in this together and we all have something in common: each one of us has someone we love and miss very much who’s half a world away.
If you have questions or concerns that we can’t address on Facebook, you can always reach out to our Ombudsmen and Family Readiness Group leaders or call the ship’s Careline. Also, please feel free to contact the ship’s public affairs officer/Facebook administrator (email@example.com). For the Marine spouses, you can contact your Family Readiness Officer.
Thank you for your patience, understanding and your continued support.
With regards and thanksgiving – Captain John Funk
11th MEU, Training and Combat Cargo
The newest pictures come via Twitter. The Marines are training to become combat life savers. There is also a couple of pictures of Combat Cargo doing their job which is to unload cargo, people and square away anything that is sent to the ship. As I have said before, this is what Jack does on the ship.
Still no word from Jack. I am sorta living for my cellphone light at this point. Go here to read more about it.
I just want to thank everyone who contributed to his Christmas care package and digital photo greetings. The package was sent off yesterday and I will email the photo greetings soon. There is still time to take a photo greeting and send it to me. If you want to participate email me a photo @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still No word
I still have not heard anything from Jack. I want to thank everyone who contributed to his Christmas care package. I hope it reaches him in time. I have no idea where he is but I have to assume from the article that follows that the ship is involved in training and is out of a communication area. Sorta stinks because I really need to "speak" to him but there is nothing I can do about it. Anyway, stay tuned and hopefully I will hear something soon!! This is all I have heard from faceBook.
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)shout out to the students at Midland Elementary School in Poway. They colored about 150 "Support Our Troops" mini-posters and shipped them out to us to distribute to the crew to show their support. Thanks, kids!!
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)hi to all our friends and family! Busy day on board for all: training, flight ops and more. Even got some mail! Congrats to our Sales Officer, LTJG Olson, who was selected to take part in an MBA program. Thanks to all for your support - our thoughts are with you.
Thanks again to Bill H for combing the internet and coming up with some news!
Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Enters 5th Fleet
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
November 18, 2009
INDIAN OCEAN - After transiting the western Pacific Ocean , the USS Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations this week to relieve the USS Bataan ARG.
While deployed to the region, Sailors and Marines from the Bonhomme Richard ARG and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit will conduct Maritime Security Operations, which help set conditions for security and promote regional stability and global prosperity.
"We've been training for the MSO mission in this region for quite some time," said Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG's commodore. "We're ready to execute when tasked."
While transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR, the Bonhomme Richard ARG - 11th MEU team participated in humanitarian projects during Marine Exercise 2009, sending Sailors and Marines ashore in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to provide medical and dental care to more than 2,000 patients in cooperation with local healthcare officials.
Sailors and Marines also volunteered in more than a dozen community service projects during four port visits to the area. Projects ranged from cleaning kennels at an animal shelter in Guam , to repairing playground structures in Phuket , Thailand , and spending quality time with orphan children in Dili, Timor-Leste.
Maritime Security Operations develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG consists of three ships - amphibious assault shipUSS Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore.
In addition, the ARG includes the command element, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
The Bataan ARG, which had been conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Fifth Fleet area of operations, and the 22nd MEU, which served as the theater reserve force for U.S. Central Command, also participated in several theater security cooperation engagements and exercises, including Bright Star 2009, Fifth Fleet's largest multinational exercise, held every two years.
"The Fifth Fleet area of operations is one of the most critical regions in the maritime security environment," said Navy Capt. Paul McElroy, commander of Bataan ARG. "The operations we conducted and the exercises we participated in were all geared towards strengthening our regional partnerships and improving security and stability within the region."
Fifth Fleet's area of responsibility encompasses 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf , the Arabian Sea , the Red Sea , the Gulf of Aden , the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean .
What are Maritime Security Operations?
Coalition and U.S. forces conduct MSO to help set the conditions for security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity.
MSO complements the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
CMF conducts MSO in international waters from the Strait of Hormuz to the Suez Canal , from Pakistan to Kenya .
MSO includes a full range of activities from assisting mariners in distress to Interaction Patrols to Visit, Board, Search and Seizure operations to engaging regional and coalition navies.
Expeditionary Strike Group 5 Assumes Command of Amphibious Forces in 5th Fleet
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
November 9, 2009
MANAMA , Bahrain - Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris assumed command of the newly-established Expeditionary Strike Group 5 during an assumption of command ceremony today aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold.
ESG 5 will assume command and relieve ESG 2, commanded by Rear Adm. Michelle Howard.
The strike group will serve as Commander, Task Force 51 and 59 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, responsible for all amphibious forces deployed to the region.
"I promise you that the great strides in the partnership building that has been put in place under the tremendous leadership of Admiral Howard will be built upon," he said. "Fifth Fleet is as challenging of an area of operations as any for the U.S. Navy and this goes double for expeditionary forces."
ESG 2 spent one year forward-deployed to Bahrain conducting intensive planning and exercises while leading CTF 51 and 59, as well as CTF 151, an international maritime coalition that conducts counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia .
Task Force 51 is responsible for the planning and execution of contingency response missions in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations. Task Force 59 plans and conducts maritime humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations. CTF 151 is a multinational task force conducting counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden , Arabian Sea , Indian Ocean and Red Sea .
Maritime Security Operations (MSO) isa term for the actions of modern naval forces to "combat sea–based terrorism and other illegal activities, such as hijacking, piracy, and slavery, also known as human trafficking."Ships assigned to such operations may also assist seafaring vessels in distress. These activities are part of an overall category of activities which fall short of open warfare called military operations other than war (MOOTW).
An example of such operations is the involvement of the multinational coalition Combined Task Force 151, which performs Maritime Security Operations in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. During the Somali Civil War, they provided anti-piracy operations along the coast of Somalia in international waters. During the 2006—2007 war, they performed a cordon along the coast to prevent the escape of Al-Qaeda operatives by sea.
A primary component of MSO requires inspections and, at times, forced boardings of vessels at sea. These actions are called Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS).
From the Captain...
I have not head from Jack for awhile and I guess ,this explains it.
Greetings family and friends. Life is great on BHR as we sail today. Your Sailors and Marines continue to do remarkable work keeping this great ship humming and ready to perform any mission that comes our way. Rest assured we are safe and mission focused.
I would like to remind you that from time to time we may be out of normal communication opportunities. This is a routine part of sailing ships at sea. The reasons for communication challenges range across an entire spectrum, but they are a fact of life.
I ask for your patience and understanding when we are experiencing limited regular communications. Our facebook page is a great way to tell the BHR story and share the experiences and challenges of life at sea, an opportunity to communicate with your Sailor, Marine and one another, and a place to develop a community of mutual support, understanding and respect. Let’s keep it that way. It is not a place to speculate about communications, operations or schedules.
The mission, our national security, and the security and safety of your Sailors & Marines are my priorities. I ask for your continued support in this endeavor.
Regards – Captain John Funk
Out and About Nov 11, Phuket Vet and Randon Faces 2
I am a little behind on updating. It is hard to keep up but this but this is the latest news from the BHR and a news article from Bill W who is very good at digging up articles about the BHR. Reminder: I need your pics and care package contributions by Nov 18 at the latest to send to Jack!!!
By Phuketwan Reporter Wednesday, November 11, 2009 AN AMERICAN air force veteran who is bed-ridden on Phuket has been presented with the stars and stripes from a visiting warship.
The presentation marked Veterans Day on November 11, which is also commemorated as Remembrance Day in Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Delivering the stars and stripes to Bill Simpson on Monday, Mr Simpson's 82nd birthday, was Denny Bowman, secretary of the Phuket Navy League.
Mr Bowman was part of the boarding brief party to welcome the warship USS Bonhomme Richard to Phuket. While in the wardroom Mr Bowman inquired about the possibility of receiving an American flag to present to Mr Simpson, who retired to Phuket 23 years ago and has been bedridden at his home in Rawai for the past 11 months.
In the ''can do'' American spirit, Mr Bowman was presented with a stars and stripes that has flown from the ship's superstructure.
While showing Mr Simpson a signed photograph from the commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme to the Phuket Navy League, Mr Bowman related the history of John Paul Jones, the captain of the original Bonhomme Richard during the American revolution. When asked to surrender to an overwhelming British force, John Paul Jones replied: ''We have not yet begun to fight.''
As Mr Simpson accepted this rare gift he made a salute, and fights on.
A relatively unknown aspect of Phuket's small part in World War II came to light at a veterans' remembrance gathering in Britain recently.
A British team who were learning the art of underwater warfare were transferred to the ''Far East'' in May, 1944. Historical records show they were equipped with the Mark II Chariot, the ''Terry.''.
These were capable of 4.5 knots and had a range of around 30 miles, with a warhead holding 1100 lbs of explosives.
The charioteers' targets were two 6000-ton merchant vessels in Phuket Harbor. Two chariots made the attack run on October 27-28, carried to within six miles of the harbor by a submarine.
With few harbor defences, both chariots made successful runs and returned safely. This was the last chariot operation. At least one British veteran of the operation is still alive.
More information about the Phuket Navy League is available at http://navyleaguephuket.org/
Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Departs 7th Fleet
INDIAN OCEAN - The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group departed the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations Tuesday, Nov. 10, as part of its regularly scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf .
Led by Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG consists of more than 2,300 personnel who serve aboard three ships — amphibious assault shipUSS Bonhomme Richard; amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland; and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore.
"We've enjoyed working with partner nations and representing the Navy's commitment to the region," said Clark . "Everywhere we operated or visited, our Sailors and Marines made a positive difference."
Sailors and Marines made port calls to Guam , Timor-Leste , Singapore and Thailand ; and also operated ashore in both Timor-Leste and Indonesia Oct. 14–24 during Marine Exercise 2009, a multilateral training exercise.
Bonhomme Richard completed the Timor-Leste portion of MAREX and worked with Timor-Leste's armed forces and International Stabilization Force to enhance interoperability and communication between the U.S. Navy and Timor-Leste forces.
Cleveland and Rushmore personnel completed the Indonesian portion and trained with the Indonesian Marines in areas including jungle operations, platoon live-fire and maneuvers, bilateral reconnaissance, and military operations in urban terrain.
The ARG/MEU team also participated in humanitarian projects, sending Sailors and Marines ashore in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to provide medical and dental care to a total of more than 2,000 patients in cooperation with local healthcare officials.
In addition to completing MAREX, members of the ARG/MEU team volunteered in over a dozen community service projects during four port visits throughout the region. Projects ranged from cleaning kennels at an animal shelter in Guam , repairing playground structures in Phuket , Thailand and interacting with children at orphanages in Dili, Timor-Leste.
"The expressions of gratitude from our hosts and the sense of satisfaction held by our Marines and Sailors were indicators of our success," said Cmdr. John Shimotsu, Bonhomme Richard's chaplain and community service coordinator. "Each of these projects expanded the scope of our positive exchanges."
In addition to its ships, the ARG consists of the command element, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
The 7th Fleet operating area includes more than half of the world's population and more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans — stretching from the International Date Line to the east coast of Africa , and from the Kuril Islands in the north to Antarctica in the south.
While transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, the Bonhomme Richard ARG reported to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa , Japan .
Marine Corps Birthday, Random Faces and Out and About Nov 9
On November 10, 1775 the United States Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today the Marines celebrated 224 years of defending our country. In 1921 Commadant Gen John J. Leujune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921. This order contains the traditions, histories and missions of the Marine Corps. It also contains an order to always recognize November 10 and to read the order each year. It was not long before Marines begin to celebrate the date and in 1921 the first birthday ball was held at Marine Barracks at Ft. Millfin, Pennsylvania. The tradition soon grew and now the Marine Corps celebrates with balls in many locations.
Here is a note from Capt. John Funk:
From the Captain...
Today at 10:19am
Greetings Family & Friends of BHR –
Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. We’re happy to celebrate with our “green” shipmates as we sail together today.
Your Sailors and Marines have been exceptionally busy training the past week since we left Phuket, Thailand. We have completed ship-wide “General Quarters/Battle Stations” drills to build proficiency in our ability to fight any battles as well as ensure we can handle any damage. These all hands evolutions are essential to our warfighting readiness and your Sailors are excelling.
In addition to the ship-wide events, drills, training and building proficiency have been the focus for every department onboard. Naval operations at sea present unique challenges and we need to constantly hone our skills to ensure we can operate safely and successfully. While the extensive training makes for long days of work, the rewards and benefits are well worth the extra effort. We are ready for the next phase of deployment.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. We have clearly established a strong “community” through this facebook interaction both onboard BHR and with our families and friends. I would encourage each user to ensure we communicate in a friendly and appropriate manner. This ensures we not only maintain an appropriate security perspective and posture, but encourage mutual support and encouragement. We’re all in this together.
Regards – Captain John Funk
I will be sending Jack's Christmas care package at the end of next week. I have a spiral metal Christmas tree with little ornaments and a battery operated tea light in the middle. I also have a couple of his Maxim magazines and plan to pick up some candy and toiletries too. I have already received a couple of pictures with Christmas wish signs so if you want to send one let me know soon. I will probably send these soon through email but if I get then before next week I will print them and include them in the package.
I received an email from Jack this weekend in which I had asked him what he did in Thailand. Let's just say I do not think is is fit to put here. My only comment was, "You did not even ride and elephant?"
Sometimes I wish my son would not choose to tell me "everything."
Here are so awesome photos from Thailand. From canoeing through sea caves and caverns to scenes of the countryside, kid boxing and of course elephant rides! I received an email today from Jack and in his words, "Thailand was insane to say the least." I am not sure what to make of that except he must have had a good time.
The other photos are of a FOD Walkdown. Apparently crew members are inspected for foreign object debris that might possibly damage the aircraft. If I am wrong about this someone please correct me.
I am working on his Christmas care package so if you would like to contribute or send him a Christmas card please try and get it to me within the next couple of weeks.
We are Underway Again
Liberty is now over and the BHR is underway and back at work. As far as I know the time in Thailand was well spent. Over the weekend I went to facebook looking for updates and all I got was the person in charge of putting out the updates was off the ship enjoying some much deserved leave time. I have not heard from Jack since last week when he emailed and said he was about get off the ship for his libo. Honestly, I could feel his excitement right through the email.
The newest pictures are of twenty-eight Sailors and Marines painting playground equipment at the Baan Bang Thong School in Phuket. It looks like they had a good time with the kids. The school children performed a music/dance routine for them at lunch. They also said the kids loved mugging for the camera. Smiles all around today. This was one of three COMREL projects Sailors and Marines took part in over the weekend.
There are also pictures of volunteers from the First Class/Staff Sgt. Mess and the Second Class Association painting the exterior wall at the Baan Sainam Municipal School.
As I said the BHR is again underway. Below is a letter from Capt John Funk.
From the Captain...
Today at 6:11am
Family & Friends – As the sun sets off our bow this evening and Phuket disappears in our wake, your Sailors & Marines can reflect on the great liberty they enjoyed in Thailand. This well earned break was an opportunity to relax and enjoy some down time before we begin the next phase of deployment.
Fun was on everyone’s list of things to do in Phuket and that’s exactly what we did. From elephant riding, Thai boxing, mountain biking, temple tours, trips to Phang Nga, Naka Island, and Phi Phi Island, SCUBA diving, shopping and laying on the beach, to participating in community relations projects at three local schools painting and completing playground equipment maintenance, we had fun.
Thanks for your continued support, prayers and love. We feel it everyday out here!
Captain John Funk
Libo Time! Sawat dii
Well, they have arrived in Phuket, Thailand! I am sure the Marines and Sailors are more than ready for this leave time. I do not know how much info we will receive until they set sail again. guess we will just have to wait and see. Here is a letter from Capt John Funk:
Greetings from Phuket Thailand!
This morning your Sailors & Marines sailed into beautiful Makham Bay and “The Land of Smiles” off the south coast of Phuket.
After several weeks at sea, we are looking forward to a fun, enjoyable and very well deserved opportunity to relax on liberty.
Please look for photos and stories after we set sail to continue our deployment adventure.
Sawat dii (Thai for hello & goodbye)
Captain John Funk
Before I post the news for today I would like everyone to take a moment and read the OPSEC Operations Security rules. It is very important that when posting here, emailing. letters or speaking to Jack on the phone that we do not violate these rules. There was a breach this week and Jack was "told" about it. So if you are not sure ask me! On a side note the articles I post here are already out so to speak, but anything to do with him directly can not be addressed. This could jeopardize not only his career but the safety of everyone on the BHR. The military must follow these rules and so must we.
I found this on facebook concerning the BHR's recent stop in Timor Leste.
A Postscript from Timor Leste
Yesterday at 8:29pm
We received the following e-mail today from a former Navy Sailor working in Timor Leste who shares some thoughts following our visit there. He's given us permission to share this note with our FB Family...
"I am a project director for the non-profit organization Bridges To Prosperity, and I am in East Timor building a footbridge for an impoverished community in the interior of the country. I spent five years in the US Navy as a Photographer's Mate and Mass Communication Specialist onboard the Enterprise, and I'm just writing to say that it was a welcome surprise and a treat seeing Navy and Marine helos flying over my bridge site these past two weeks. I spent a little time in Dili helping the crewmembers get their bearings in town, and it reminded me of my own adventures while on liberty.
Please let the crew know that the Timorese people really appreciated the visit and all the humanitarian work that the Sailors and Marines did. Now, whenever I tell the locals that I'm American, their faces light up and they invariably tell me that "America is very good".
I hope the port visit went well and without incident for the crew, and I hope the rest of your deployment passes successfully and safely.
Milosz Reterski Central American Representative Bridges to Prosperity
This came from Bill H. It is a news article concerning the upcoming Liberty.
Sailor influx prompts Phuket ladyboy crackdown
PHUKET: In advance of the arrival of two more US Navy ships full of marines ready for R&R in Phuket this week, Kathu Police are cracking down on criminal gangs of ladyboys.
Kathu Police Commander Grissak Songmoonnark said last time a large contingent of US Navy sailors were in Phuket around 80 ladyboys were arrested for petty crime.
About half of them came to the island from Pattaya with the intention of robbing the Americans, Col Grissak said.
Police would be checking their ID and employment cards, he said. Those who didn’t have the right papers “would have problems”.
Tomorrow, 300 US Navy Marines will arrive aboard the USS Ingraham.
On Thursday they will be joined by around 3,000 more aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.
The crew have been training in East Timor and have been on board their ship for the past month in advance of their Phuket visit.
Douglas H Robinson, chief of Naval Security Force Protection Detachment, met with Col Grissak and representatives from around 60 Patong businesses in Kathu Police Station to discuss the upcoming visit.
Only 2,500 marines would be allowed off the ships on any given day, Mr Robinson said.
I am sure they will all be fine, but it wouldn't hurt to say a prayer for all the Sailors and Marines to have a safe leave and a good time.
Thailand or Bust
I received and email from Jack today. He told me he was able to get off the ship at Timor. Here is an excerpt from that email.
I am doing great; I can’t believe how fast a month has gone by. We have been busy so that helps pass the time. I have also seen some amazing things while being deployed. Last night there was a storm off in the distance and well you know how they say the calm before the storm, well the water was so smooth never thought the ocean could be so calm. There was also lightening going of in the distance which made for nice eye candy. Also at our last stop which will go unnamed but I think you know where we where, I was able to go ashore. We got to meet with some of the locals, and there where a lot of kids, so we took pictures with them, played soccer, some marine’s gave them there jump wings or rank. One thing that blew me away was that almost all the kids where not wearing shoes and how the ground just didn’t affect them. They would run across it at full speed. I know I would be hobbling trying to keep up with no shoes. It is a different world than what we are use to. One kid had an Obama t-shirt which I thought was funny, everyone was taking pictures with that kid, bet he didn’t know why either heh. Another had a Rolling Stones T-Shirt.
P.S. O and well I can’t tell you the place, but just wait till you find out where I am reenlisting….. It’s famous that’s all I can say and I can’t think of a better place to do it, I’m grateful my command is granting this favor, and yes I will get tons of pictures of the ceremony I know you will want to see it J.
So he sounds like he is having a good time. I am sure he is looking forward to Libo. One of the guy's wife went to Country Singer Jimmy Wayne's concert and as you can see from the picture he sent a nice message to the BHR. Anybody want to take a stab at figuring out where he is reenlisting? I have a thought but I won't post it here until I can. Email me privately if you have an idea. In fact let's have a contest and vote for the location you think it will happen at. I will post the winner's name here.
Bill W. sent this news story to me.
From the Phuketwan website:
US Assault Ship, Destroyer Heading for Phuket [ Thailand ]
By Alan Morison
Monday, October 26, 2009
THOUSANDS of US marines are due to take shore leave on Phuket later this week as the island's friendly American invaders continue to boost the local economy.
The marines are coming on the amphibious assault shipUSS Bonhomme Richard, which is to be accompanied by the USS Ingraham.
The ships will be at anchor off Phuket until November 3. About 3000 military personnel will be enjoying Phuket's pleasures.
Helicopters are used as the Bonhomme Richard's deployment aircraft, flying off a flat deck similar to an aircraft carrier. The Ingraham, a guided missile destroyer, is capable of defensive and offensive operations against warplanes, anti-ship missiles, surface ships, submarines, and shore targets.
Arrivals on Wednesday and Thursday follow a series of successful visits, with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan recently returning to its home port of San Diego after a memorable Phuket stopover.
Phuket has become a regular favorite among US sailors and marines, conveniently positioned between the Persian Gulf , Hawaii and US mainland home ports.
Concerns about the safety and security of the US visitors have also helped to focus the attention of local authorities on various Phuket scams, beginning with jet-skis but also including ladyboys (katoeys) and the nightclub ticket touts who have emerged relatively recently on Patong's Soi Bangla walking street.
Local Navy League spokesman Denny Bowman told Phuketwan today that the island's place as a prime destination for US military on R&R is likely to continue.
''On the tick-list of pluses for Phuket there is now also a Navy League branch, which only encourages confidence that everyone will get a great welcome and be well looked after here,'' he said.
The league plans a welcome for about 70 US officers and senior servicemen at the BBQ Hut, in Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Road, opposite the Mercure, from 5pm on Thursday evening. Phuket residents are invited for just 400 baht entry.
Greetings Family & Friends of BHR!
091022-N-8607R-044 SAVU SEA (Oct. 22, 2009) A landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) prepares to enter the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as personnel and equipment return to the ship from Timor-Leste. Sailors from the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and Embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU) are participating in MAREX 2009, a multilateral exercise that promotes cooperation through civic action programs and training with the Timor-Leste and Australian militaries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eva-Marie Ramsaran/Released)
A message from the Captain:
All our Marines and Sailors have safely returned from their exercises ashore and it’s great to have the whole team together again.
Tonight we observed our final spectacular sunset off the coast of Timor Leste. A beautiful ending to what has been a unique and special experience for all hands. As we leave Timor Leste in our wake, there is a strong sense of satisfaction that each individual onboard contributed to something special. Whether it was participating in training with Timorese military forces, playing sports with foreign military members and Timorese youth teams, providing medical and dental care to the local population, meeting and sharing experiences with Timorese political and military leaders, demonstrating the capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps team, painting a school, making friends in the local community, or hugging a orphaned child, every Sailor and Marine has made a difference.
Making a difference is why we traveled to Timor Leste. From the larger scale objectives of enhancing our national security, regional stability and partnership with a developing democracy to improving the lives of individual citizens, your Sailors and Marines have clearly made a difference.
Regards as we end another chapter in our deployment adventure – Captain John Funk
USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) big trip to the grocery store today, as we took on more than 300 pallets of food via vertical replenishment at sea. Lots of happy Sailors and Marines, not just for the fresh food, but also because of two magic words: "Mail call!"
Jack must have been very busy! Our Daughter graduated from college on Friday so we have been a bit busy! Just got back from Phoenix this morning. Will try to update again befor the weekend is out. Anyone finding more news stories and pictures will be welcome!
I added a picture of the Marines conducting a non-combatant evacuation operation. I'm sure Jack was involved with this as Combat Cargo not only transferring cargo, but people also.
today we conducted a NEO (non-combatant evacuation operation) exercise with members of the embassy staff. This allows us to practice our ability to handle and process personnel in the event of an evacuation, and also demonstrates that capability to ...the Embassy personnel, giving them the confidence that if something were to happen in real life, they would be evacuated quickly and safely.
Americans take helo ride, assist evacuation exercise
10/20/2009 By Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn, 11th MEU
DILI, Timor Leste — A Marine Corps helicopter flew 24 American citizens from the embassy compound here to USS Bonhomme Richard in the Pacific Ocean during an evacuation exercise Oct. 20.
A CH-53E Super Stallion landed on the front lawn of Ambassador Hans Klemm’s residence and a Marine crew chief loaded the passengers.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our citizens. It excites them,” said Jonathan Henick, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission.
Not all citizens are registered with the embassy, but Henick estimates that not more than 300 American citizens live in Timor Leste.
Seconds before boarding her first ride in a helicopter, Linda Leekley, from Wayzata, Minn., said “I’m always happy to do things to help my country.”
The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s aviation, logistics and ground-combat elements took part in the training, which was coordinated with State Department officials.
Cpl. Kevin Pope, a heavy-equipment mechanic with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, manned the reception desk, checked names and handed out color-coded bracelets for 44 people – men, women and children. Pope, 22, is from Boston.
Battery A, the artillery unit attached to the MEU’s Battalion Landing Team 2/4, provided security.
“There’s no doubt we’d be ready,” said Cpl. Bo Kim, 22, from Virginia Beach, Va. “We’ve been doing this training for months, and we have an outstanding chain of command down to corporals and sergeants who really take charge.”
Twenty others waited to board a second helicopter, but that aircraft was canceled for repairs.
“It beats the paper drills we’re used to doing,” said Henick. “This is a real exercise, and it shows what a real evacuation would be like.”
The 11th MEU, deployed with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, has been in Southeast Asia since Oct. 14 as part of Marine Exercise 2009. The exercise, hosted by U.S. Pacific Command, is focused on promoting theater security cooperation through civic action projects and military interaction.
The newest pictures are of Sailors and Marines from BHR's soccer team playing a soccer match against a youth team from Timor Leste. The game was a great expression of friendly competition, goodwill and another opportunity to build friendships between our two countries.
Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of days. We had our grandchild Faith this weekend and she kept me busy with rootbeer floats and bike riding at the park. We also celebrated my Dad's 84th birthday on Sunday. Dad is a former Navy Corpsman. Happy Birthday Dad!
Here is another news story out of Timor Leste. The Marines and Sailors treated their 500th patient. Amazing!
Medical personnel treat 500th patient in Timor Leste
10/19/2009 By Sgt. Scott Biscuiti, 11th MEU
Navy corpsmen and doctors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit saw their 500th patient Oct. 19 at a clinic here.
The medical team, consisting of 14 corpsmen and four doctors, has seen a constant flow of patients since arriving in the Southeast Asian nation Oct. 14.
The Sailors treated the majority of the patients at a local clinic operated by Catholic nuns and others at a hospital in the district of Oecussi.
“Typically we have been seeing more than 100 people a day and we are trying to accommodate everyone that comes in,” said Chief Petty Officer Norman Delacruz, an independent duty corpsman with the MEU and Oceanside, Calif. native.
Delacruz said the ages of the patients vary, but elderly people and those with coughs are the most common. Many have been referred to the government tuberculosis program.
A man came to the clinic on one of the first days complaining of a cough he had for seven years.
"Most of the patients we’ve seen haven't seen a doctor in more than ten years," said Delacruz, a 12 year Navy veteran.
Seaman Nelson Calderon, a hospital corpsman and Los Angeles native, said he has seen a large number of children with malnutrition and people with tuberculosis symptoms.
“It’s sad,” said the 20-year-old. “The babies here are so small for their age,”
Delacruz said the work load is heavy, but the staff has been up to the challenge.
"They are working through lunch trying to see as many patients as possible," he said.
The sailors have one more location to visit before boarding USS Bonhomme Richard and continuing their deployment throughout the Western Pacific.
Many of the corpsman said they will miss the work they’re doing and the people they’re treating.
“It's the greatest thing ever being out here," he said. “This is the best time I've had in the Navy.”
Providing medical and dental medical and dental care and training
First of all I received a call from Jack today! Happy Dance! Even though it was mainly due to a financial problem that arose at the beginning of the week, but it was still great to hear from him. He told me of jumping off the ship and swimming in the sea. No they were not allowed to jump from the flight deck and only jumped about 10 feet into the water. He says the water is so clear that he can see the bottom of the ship. And, yes it is very hot and humid there.
The Marines were not allowed off the ship for Libo (liberty). Only the Sailors and Marines involved with dental and healthcare. The rest of the 11th MEU are involved with training exercises. Combat Cargo is in charge of getting them on and off the ship.
I probably will not update again until Monday. My grandaughter is with us this weekend and we will be celebrating my father's birthday on Sunday, so I am a busy bee.
News Article from Televisao de Timor-Leste -- Exercises With 2,500 U.S. Military Begin In Timor-Leste
Today at 3:49pm
On October 14th East Timor's first joint military exercise with the United States began with the arrival of the USS Bonhomme Richard assault Ship.
Exercises with 2,500 American troops and Australian forces are to last through October 24 with the objective of bolstering the skills of Timor's armed Forces F-FDTL. Besides field exercise, the troops are also to carry out humanitarian assistance activities, Ambassador Klemm said to the media.
Ambassador Klemm underscored that jungle training, urban training, infantry training, beach landings, and engineering and medical projects would be conducted. Work began Wednesday with the establishment of medical and dental clinics, said Ambassador Klemm, after participating in the arrival of the USS Bonhomme Richard in Maubara.
President Ramos Horta who attended the arrival ceremony of the USS Bonhomme Richard said that he was optimistic that the exercises would help the F/FDTL to learn modern techniques and would allow the US forces to study local guerilla techniques. President Ramos Horta also said that his country appreciated the humanitarian assistance the US forces were bringing. Thousands of East Timorese will benefit from the medical care, Horta said.
Marines continue their exercise with the Timor Leste military; medical personnel ashore have set up free medical and dental clinics. Ship's leadership, along with our soccer team coach and captain part of a press conference in Dili, highlightin...g a "football" match this weekend between the ship team and a local youth team. To quote a local government official "Through sports, we can promote peace and stability.
Navy doctors and Hospital Corpsmen attached to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are in Timor Leste providng medical and dental care to the Timorese people as part of a Medical Civic Action Project, or MEDCAP
Arriving Timor Leste
The USS Bonhomme Richard has made landfall. They are in Timor Leste to provide humanitarian efforts.
Here is a few facts about Timor Leste:
Timor-Leste is located in Southeast Asia, on the southernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago, northwest of Australia. The country includes the eastern half of Timor island as well as the Oecussi enclave in the northwest portion of Indonesian West Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jaco. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. Portuguese influence during the centuries of colonial rule resulted in a substantial majority of the population identifying itself as Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23-year Indonesian occupation, approximately 13% of Timorese speaks Portuguese, 43% speak Bahasa Indonesia, and 6% speak English, according to the 2004 census. Tetum, the most common of the local languages, is spoken by approximately 91% of the population, although only 46.2% speak Tetum Prasa, the form of Tetum dominant in the Dili district. Mambae, Kemak, and Fataluku are also widely spoken. This linguistic diversity is enshrined in the country's constitution, which designates Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages. relief. Here is a little facts about Timor Leste:
Timor-Leste is located in Southeast Asia, on the southernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago, northwest of Australia. The country includes the eastern half of Timor island as well as the Oecussi enclave in the northwest portion of Indonesian West Timor, and the islands of Atauro and Jaco. The mixed Malay and Pacific Islander culture of the Timorese people reflects the geography of the country on the border of those two cultural areas. Portuguese influence during the centuries of colonial rule resulted in a substantial majority of the population identifying itself as Roman Catholic. Some of those who consider themselves Catholic practice a mixed form of religion that includes local animist customs. As a result of the colonial education system and the 23-year Indonesian occupation, approximately 13% of Timorese speaks Portuguese, 43% speak Bahasa Indonesia, and 6% speak English, according to the 2004 census. Tetum, the most common of the local languages, is spoken by approximately 91% of the population, although only 46.2% speak Tetum Prasa, the form of Tetum dominant in the Dili district. Mambae, Kemak, and Fataluku are also widely spoken. This linguistic diversity is enshrined in the country's constitution, which designates Portuguese and Tetum as official languages and English and Bahasa Indonesia as working languages.
From Bill H. News story about BHR arrival in Timor Leste
Bonhomme Richard ARG/11th MEU Arrives in Timor-Leste for MAREX-09
10/14/2009 From Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
BONHOMME RICHARD, At sea (NNS) -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), arrived in SavuSea to conduct a multilateral exercise in cooperation with the government of Timor-Leste Oct. 14.
During Marine Exercise 2009 (MAREX 09), ARG Sailors and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are scheduled to participate in Theater Security Cooperation programs and training ashore with the Timor-Leste and Australian militaries.
"We're excited to work with our Timor-Leste and Australian partners," said Commodore Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG commander. "The ARG/MEU team hopes to build upon a strong relationship with this new country and make a difference in the community."
Bonhomme Richard displaces 40,500 tons and features a 2.2 acre flight deck that will enable medical and dental personnel to travel ashore and assist local healthcare workers in providing care to local residents.
"The scope of the medical, dental and preventative medicine services the Navy harnesses afloat is an awesome capability not only for our own Marines and Sailors, but to those unfortunate few or many that may have suffered hardship," said Commander, Amphibious Task Force Surgeon Cmdr. Steven Gabele.
In addition to offering medical and dental assistance, ARG/MEU personnel will partner with local government and education officials to repair the roof of a secondary school as well as construct desks and chalk boards.
Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines have also volunteered to participate in local sporting events and visit children in orphanages in the country's capital city.
"It's a great thing. These projects not only meet needs [in Timor-Leste] but also meet the desires of Sailors and Marines to help people," said Cmdr. John Shimotsu, Bonhomme Richard's senior chaplain and community service coordinator. "One of the last things people remember is our ability to make a positive difference in the communities that we visit."
The ARG's other two ships, USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47), are participating in the other portion of MAREX-09 in neighboring Indonesia.
The ARG also consists of the command element, commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; the ready group's flagship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6); Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.
So Jack is most likely on dry land now. But, maybe not. he said Combat Cargo does not always get off the ship. So I do not know. Just will have to wait and see.
A Happy Birthday shout out to my Dad Former Navy Corpsman.
Pollywogs and Shellbacks
I received an email from Jack last night. He told me the ship has crossed the Equator. He also told me in an earlier email that anyone who has not crossed the Equator is called a Pollywog and anyone that has is called a Shellback. In order to become a Shellback you have to go through a sort of hazing. In the first email he said the Pollywogs would probably get sprayed with a fire hose. I thought how bad could that be? I should have know better considering it is the Military. Here is an accounting in his own words:
So we crossed the equator today and we became Shellbacks. Got sprayed with fire hoses and sea dye was thrown on us. The Sickest thing was going threw the chow hall because you had to push your plate with your nose, there was food on the ground and they put Crisco on the floor to make them slick. After it was all said and done and we saw King Neptune and showered up and they had a Steel Beach Party on the Flight Deck.
I don't think I want to know what sea dye is. So now I am the mom of a Shellback Marine. Nice.
I think I might see King Neptune too after all of that! He signed off the email with
Jack "Shellback" H.
Email from Jack, Mommie doing Happy Dance.
I received an email from Jack on Sunday. He sounds good and seems to be doing well. I will post an edited verison for you all to read. Me on the other hand have had a very stressful couple of days. I made a mistake yesterday on a financial issue. I was able to resolve it today but I spent Sunday and this morning very stressed out.
Anyway here is Jack's email:
Greetings from the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Hello everyone thought I would drop a line seeing as it has been a while and mom is probably freaking out.(Yes he has me pegged) I have been busy, which is a good thing and the days have been passing fast. We are approaching the equator (yes, Google Map Time) and the Navy has a special ceremony they do to mark people crossing the equator for the first time. If you have not crossed the equator before you are known as a pollywog and once you do you are known as a shellback. King Neptune himself comes and bestows that title upon you once you cross the equator. So what does that all really mean, heh well let me tell you. It is a haze fest basically where the Shellbacks get to do whatever they like with the pollywogs for a couple hours till you go and see King Neptune. I have heard we get sprayed with the fire houses, have to put on talent shows, and most important when ever we have to go anywhere we have to crawl because as a pollywog we have no spine yet. Anyways it should be fun,( Is he kidding?) I guess, we get a certificate after it is all done saying we are Shellbacks and have crossed the equator. We crossed the International Date Line also, so we are one day ahead of you so when it is say Friday there it is Saturday for us
It is very hot out here and humid, but as long as you hydrate you are fine. I have started my workout routine, hazing myself in the gym. I have seen improvement and am hoping I will come back from this deployment bigger than I was when I left. That being said Mom, if I can’t get any protein in port I will probably have you send me some threw the mail, I will keep you posted. Anyways Love you all and will talk to you all again soon. I will probably call you when I get to land, but that depends on the cost, very expensive sorry not that I don’t want to but to me e-mail works just fine and it is free.
This was posted on FaceBook today:
Davy Jones and King Neptune cometh...
There you go. Signing out, destressing mommie
More news about Reggie the Revolutionary Rooster.
I added a few pics to the Weapons Department album. One of Reggie the Revolutionary Rooster in firefighting gear. Another of the BHR receiving supplies and the Kaiser, a supply ship manned with civilains and sailors.
From FaceBook: Congratulations to MMFR Antinio from Bakersfield, Ca., our Revolutionary Gator of the Week!
Reggie the Revolutionary Rooster Learns About Firefighting and Damage Control
I’ve had a great week this deployment. I was assigned to Repair 4 firefighting locker on board. There are nine lockers onboard that are placed throughout the ship. In case of an emergency on board, we can’t call 911. So if there is a fire or flood, the Sailors are the ones that do the work. I got a chance to practice basic firefighting by manning a hose while donning a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA). They help us breath when fighting a fire. There are a lot of different jobs that are included in each locker and all are important.
There are those on the hose team, investigators, potters and phone talkers, electricians, pipe patching teams, and various other jobs that all work together as one team. Since firefighting and controlling floods involves everyone on the ship, we train a lot. There are days where we spend most of the day practicing General Quarter (GQ) drills. That’s when we go through lots of different situations that our ship encounter out at sea, like fire, flooding, loss of electricity and phone use, and we need to really communicate with each other to win the fight. It is a lot of fun, but also very important train because we are responsible for our own safety.
We have lots of Sailors that are very knowledgeable about firefighting. They are the Navy’s full time firefighters called Damage Controlmen (DC). They train the crew and make sure that all our equipment is in perfect condition just in case something happens. I feel very safe because they all know their jobs very well.
Well I have to go now, but thank you for listening and I will write again very soon.
Here is the newest pictures of Weapons Department. This department is responsible for providing the carrier and air wing with all training and operational weapons. They requisition, receive, stow, inventory, assemble and transport all bombs, mines, missiles, grenades, demolition charges, and other types of ammunition.
Life as a Marine
I do not have any new pictures today so I posted pictures from bootcamp, Jack's first duty station, 8th & I Marine Barracks, Washington DC and our visit there two years ago. The eight picture is of the Queen of England visit to the White House in 2007. Jack is the in the first row on the right. The last picture is of Jack working in Combat Cargo on one of the BHR's workups this summer before deploying.
I copied postings on FaceBook by the BHR. They posted some very interesting descriptions of their MOS's (not sure if that is the right acronym). There is also a message from the Captain.
Bill H. told me he was in contact with a friend on the BHR and internet service is not reliable and that is probably why I have not heard anything from Jack and apparently the BHR will not go to Guam but is meeting somewhere with the USS Cleveland and USS Rushmore. I decided to spend some time snail mailing him and motomailing him. Bill said they might not receive email for a month. Please if you would like to send Jack a letter, carepackage whatever email me and I will send you his address or motomail address. I do not want to post it here. Also, I would like to start a Christmas card collection for him. So if you want to sent a card let me know.
Here are the stories from FaceBook:
From the Captain...
Greetings family and friends of BHR from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It’s been a busy week of training, drills and flight operations as we continue our western transit. Your Sailors and Marines are operating safely and professionally every day. I know you are as proud of them as I am. It’s my great privilege to serve with them!
This week we have also focused on what we call our "culture of fitness." In addition to being a great fighting warship, BHR is also a great place to work out and stay fit. We enjoy many options to stay physically fit from a well stocked gym of weights and treadmills, to 3 times a day "spin" classes, to weekly yoga, a Second Class Petty Officer Association led "PT Challenge," and a flight deck with fantastic views. Most days the gym is filled almost around the clock, every spin class is full, there’s no free space during yoga, and each morning the flight deck is clobbered in a sea of blue and gold and green PT uniforms. It’s great to be part of such a fit team!
Life is great – and healthy - on BHR!
Warm regards from the tropics – Captain Funk
Spotlight: Electronics Technicians
When someone hears the word radar, they would most likely think of a giant circular screen with flashing green lights, fancy noises and that would be the end of it. What someone might find much more interesting is the guts of it all, the machines that make all the pretty lights blink, the machines that are surging with 50,000 volts of electricity at all times. These machines, although less thought about, are what make the magic happen.
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Eric Rosales explained that these radar machines shoot a signal into the sky and detect incoming aircraft at a distance of up to 256 nautical miles. From there, the signal shoots back to the machine and is then transferred to the small radar screen, which appears as blinking green lights. With an entire room full of dangerous, powerful equipment with the sole purpose of producing green lights on a small screen, it seems radar is more than meets the eye.
Rosales, who is 23 years old, is from Mileitas, Calif. and has been in the Navy for three years, two of which have been spent on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as an Electronics Technician (ET). To become an ET you must go through a year of schooling, which is located at Great Lakes, Ill. Rosales said "A-School is self-paced and they teach you a lot about radar, how to read schematics, to troubleshoot and to read manuals." Like any A-School, Rosales said that some parts are more difficult than others. "It depends on how motivated you are to get out of there," said Rosales.
Training for something in an A-School, a controlled environment, is far different than applying your skills in a real-life situation. Rosales said, "Actually getting to put your hands on the equipment while in the fleet will teach you much more than any A-school or C-school can." While working with something in a non-controlled environment, there will always be dangers present. This is no different for an ET, Rosales was quick to explain: "Electricity. Our main concern is electricity. It’s the amps that will kill you."
There are 23 ETs on board the BHR and one of those is Electronics Technician 3rd Class Wade Moore, from El Centro, Calif. Moore has been in the Navy for three years with seven months of that time on board the Revolutionary Gator. "My favorite part of the job is soldering, which is basically replacing components," said Moore, "I like it because I get to save thousands of dollars for the Navy."
"Sometimes time is an issue," said Moore. Moore explained that the job can be high-pressure when you are fixing something and you have a time constraint. Moore described how a situation can be stressful while working on a very expensive piece of equipment while the ship is rocking back and forth. Moore recalled one job in particular where he needed to repair a half-million dollar piece of equipment while the ship was moving (he succeeded).
Rosales and Moore would both agree that not all jobs are difficult. Moore said that most jobs are 98 percent operator error and jokingly explained the acronym P.E.B.C.A.K. (Problem exists between chair and keyboard).
If after reading this, someone still doesn’t quite understand what an ET does, Rosales explained it quite simply: "We do a lot of maintenance to make sure that the ship can see and hear." In other words, ETs repair radar and sonar technology so that the operators may do their jobs and ultimately make the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) a powerful warship that is a force to be reckoned with.
Situations can be dangerous, stressful or both while working as an ET, but Rosales and Moore both had an interest in technology before joining the Navy and that is what they got, lots of it. Rosales had a few final words: "ETs do work, despite the stereotype." Moore would tell someone thinking about becoming an ET: "If you think you’re awesome, go for it!"
Story by MCSA Wyatt Lehman
Assault Craft Unit 5 Supports BHR, ARG
Based out of Camp Pendleton, ACU 5’s mission requires effort to sustain Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCACs) which load and back load Marines and their equipment in support of various operations such as noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO) and humanitarian aid efforts.
"My job is to ensure the crafts get from point A to point B on time without crashing," said Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW) James Marek. "Mission planning can be very challenging at times, especially when maneuvering crafts into spaces with little clearance. It’s similar to putting a big cork in a little bottle."
As ACU 5 conducted workups in preparations for deployment, they actively participated in 84 missions, transferred 4,000 personnel, on and off loaded 600 vehicles and moved a total of 14 million pounds of vehicles. Since ACU 5 has been deployed they’ve been responsible for the on load of 77 Marines and 21 vehicles, totaling 344,800 thousand pounds.
"Twenty hours of flight time per quarter is the requirement of all personnel attached to ACU 5 but all 37 people attached to the unit know the importance of the extra proficiency needed to keep the crafts in running order," said Marek.
Since ACU 5s commissioning in 1983 it has taken part in many operations such as Operation Desert Storm, Kernel Blitz, Restore Hope and Operation Iraqi Freedom. ACU 5 has also given support to Los Angeles firefighters by providing LCACs to transport vehicle, equipment and personnel during the Santa Catalina wild fires.
"Being part of this community offers a lot of opportunities that the average Sailor wouldn’t be exposed to," said Hull Technician Fireman (SW) Librado Najera. "It’s a great first command for me. Since I’ve been at ACU 5 I’ve learned a great deal that I wouldn’t ordinarily learn in my rate."
Among the Sailors who enjoy the fulfillment of working for ACU 5, there are another group of individuals who can be thankful for the department’s contributions.
"It’s cool that the Marines get to work along with the Navy," said Pfc. William Bryant. "Doing the LCAC operations gives us a chance to work side-by-side with the Navy to help get the mission accomplished.
ACU 5 regularly deploys LCACs with the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARGs) of the Pacific Fleet, conducting operations and exercises and maintaining presence throughout the Persian Gulf, and the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Antonio Ramos
Marines Rappelling and Out and About Aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard
The first pictures are of the Marines practicing rappelling on the BHR. The rest of the pictures are of Sailors and Marines enjoying a day on the BHR. Watching the news tonight I see there was another earthquake and a possible Tsunami again. What is up with that? Once again I have to assume all is well. I have not had any contact with Jack.
Here is a news story from Marines.mil about the Marine's rappelling exercise.
Marines, sailors rappel as ship sails
10/6/2009 By Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac, 11th MEU
PACIFIC OCEAN — Marines and sailors of Battalion Landing Team 2/4 rappelled from a helicopter parked on USS Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck here Oct. 6 to an elevator platform three stories below.
"It’s pretty scary at first but nice once you’re on the ground," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua D. Thornbloom, 23, from Portland, Ore. "It doesn’t help that we’re leaning out over the rear of the helicopter with the ocean under us. The intimidation factor goes up a little bit."
The Weapons Company members lowered themselves from the back of a CH-46 Sea Knight, many rappelling for the first time since recruit training, said 1st Lt. Jameson K. Norton, a 23 year old from Nashville, Tenn.
"Rappelling isn’t used much, but it’s a skill Marines can maintain while they’re with us," said Norton. "It’s a great confidence booster."
Norton said it gives a Marine the skill and confidence to descending arduous terrain.
Fast-roping, or free sliding down a rope through a hole, is the preferred method for expeditious helicopter exits over land, and Marines typically rappel from towers or cliff sides. However, while sailing aboard the amphibious assault ship, they improvised.
Battalion Landing Team 2/4 is the ground combat element of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is currently deployed to the Western Pacific.
Below is a description of the Marines rappelling.
(1)Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Crevling rappels from a helicopter parked on USS Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck here Oct. 6 to an elevator platform three stories below. Crevling serves with Battalion Landing Team 2/4, the ground combat element of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which deployed Sept. 24 to the Western Pacific.
(2)Pfc. Lucas R. Hernandez leaps out the back of a CH-46 helicopter while rappelling aboard USS Bonhomme Richard Oct. 6. Marines with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/4, rappelled from the ship’s flight deck to an elevator platform three stories below.
(3)Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua D. Thornbloom, 23, from Portland, Ore., rappels out the back of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter aboard USS Bonhomme Richard Oct. 6. Marines with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/4, rappelled from the ship’s flight deck to an elevator platform three stories below.
(4)Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ronald A. Laganzon rappels from a helicopter parked on USS Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck here Oct. 6 to an elevator platform three stories below. Laganzon serves with Battalion Landing Team 2/4, the ground combat element of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which deployed Sept. 24 to the Western Pacific.
From Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs
BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), entered the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations Oct. 2 as part of its regularly scheduled deployment to promote peace, cooperation and stability in the region.
Led by Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG consists of three ships — amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).
"We have a great Navy, Marine Corps team and offer a full range of operational capabilities. We look forward to operating in the 7th Fleet and playing a role in regional security and cooperation," said Clark. "We are also prepared to provide assistance in the region when called upon."
The ARG's 2,300 personnel make up the Navy component of a multicapable team that also includes 2,200 embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), commanded by Col. Gregg Olson.
Capt. John Funk, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer, is also looking forward to operating in the 7th Fleet region.
"We are looking forward to every opportunity to build friendships and enhance partnerships in the region and wherever we visit, to show our hosts the best ambassadors the United States has to offer – the Sailors and Marines of Bonhomme Richard," said Funk.
In addition to its ships, the ARG consists of the command element, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
The 7th Fleet operating area includes more than half of the world's population and more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans — stretching from the International Date Line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is transiting the 7th Fleet Area of Operations and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.
This first item is from Bill H. Thank you Bill for searching the internet and forwarding news items. The pictures that I added today are the Sailors and Marines enjoying a night of Karoke. The last few pictures are of the C5I Department. They are responsible for relaying information.
The Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Combat and Information department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of command, control and communications systems, sensors, weapons and ship systems in support of amphibious and sea control missions. In essence, the C5I Department is responsible for ensuring the ship can fight and defend itself when called upon to do so.
10.03.2009 PACIFIC OCEAN – USS Bonhomme Richard, the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, entered the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations Friday, Oct. 2, as part of its regularly scheduled deployment.
Led by Capt. Rodney Clark, the ARG consists of three ships — amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard; amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland; and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore.
"We have a great Navy, Marine Corps team and offer a full range of operational capabilities. We look forward to operating in the 7th Fleet and playing a role in regional security and cooperation," said Clark. "We are also prepared to provide assistance in the region when called upon." he added.
The ARG's 2,300 personnel make up the Navy component of a multi-capable team that also includes 2,200 embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit commanded by Col. Gregg Olson.
Capt. John Funk, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer, is also looking forward to operating in the Western Pacific region.
"We are looking forward to every opportunity to build friendships and enhance partnerships in the region and wherever we visit, to show our hosts the best ambassadors the United States has to offer – the Sailors and Marines of Bonhomme Richard," said Funk.
In addition to its ships, the ARG consists of the command element, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7; Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.
The 7th Fleet operating area includes more than half of the world's population and more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans — stretching from the International Date Line to the mid-Indian Ocean, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is transiting the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.
The 7th Fleet
Seventh Fleet, established 19 February 1943 from Southwest Pacific Force, is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 50-60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Operating in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf -- up to 11,000 miles from the west coast of the United States , Seventh Fleet, with the support of its Task Force Commanders, performs three jobs. First, C7F can be assigned as a Joint Task Force commander in the event of natural disaster or joint military operation. Second, C7F is the operational commander for all naval forces in the region. Finally, C7F is designated as the Combined Naval Component Commander for the defense of the Korean peninsula; in the event of hostilities, all friendly naval forces in the theater would fall under C7F control. Of the 50-60 ships typically assigned to Seventh Fleet, 18 operate from U.S. facilities in Japan and Guam . These forward-deployed units represent the heart of Seventh Fleet. The 18 permanently forward-deployed ships of the US 7th Fleet are the centerpieces of American forward presence in Asia . They are 17 steaming days closer to locations in Asia than their counterparts based in the continental United States . It would take three to five times the number of rotationally based ships in the United States to equal the same presence and crisis response capability as these 18 forward deployed ships. On any given day, about 50 percent of Seventh Fleet forces are deployed at sea throughout the area of responsibility. The Seventh Fleet Command Ship is the USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19), forward deployed to Yokosuka , Japan.
These ships were supposed to leave with the BHR, but due to the boilers breaking down the BHR sailed a week later. I am not sure if the BHR plans to meet up with these ships. I guess we will have to wait and see.
USS Cleveland & USS Rushmore Making Port Call On Guam
Guam - Sailors and Marines from USS Cleveland (LPD-7) and USS Rushmore (LSD-47) arrived on Guam Oct. 5 for a port visit.
While on island, service members attached to the ships will conduct community service projects on the following dates and locations:
Oct. 6, 8:30 a.m.-noon: Clean kennels and feed and walk animals at Guam Animals In Need in Yigo
Oct. 6, 8:30 a.m.-noon: Participate in morning exercise and visit patients at St. Dominic’s Retirement Home in Barrigada Heights
Oct . 7, 8:30 a.m.-noon: Tutor and mentor students at Benavente Middle School in Dededo
Oct. 7, 8:30-10:30 a.m.: Partner with Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization to mentor students at Agueda Johnston Middle School in Ordot
The newest pictures are of the 2/4 enjoying a BBQ on board BHR. I did not see Jack in any of these pictures. Oh well.
Now I had no idea there was a rooster aboard. I did not even know animals were allowed but apparently this one is. Funny, because now we are following Reggie the Rooster too. I wonder if he crows in the morning? Here is his story that was posted on FaceBook.
Reggie the Revolutionary Rooster -- Checking In
My journey continues on board Bonhomme Richard. I have completed my check-in process where I went around to all the important departments, and met with the Sailors responsible for seeing that I am taken care of for the first few weeks till I get situated. I still have my sponsor NC2 Munoz to help me out, but now I feel more comfortable asking other Sailors for assistance if I need anything.
One of the People I talked to was PSSN Randle. He is a Personnel Specialist and he sat down with me, updated my military record and made sure that all my finances were correct. There are a lot of things that this young rooster didn’t know about when I join the military and people like Seaman Randle are there to see that I am squared away. The less I have to worry about in my personal life, the more I can concentrate on learning my job on the ship. It is a really good thing.
Another person I met was LN1 Price. She is a Legalman on board who talked to me about the rules I have to follow while being in the Navy. There are different laws that Sailors have to follow that are different than those when I was a civilian. I didn’t know all of them and she helped me understand which ones where most important to follow and that she is there to answer any extra questions I had. She is really nice and made sure that I was well informed.
I was told that I am going to be assigned a firefighting locker. In case of an emergency on board, we can’t call 911. So if there is a fire or flood, the Sailors are the ones that do the work. We trained in bootcamp fighting fires, which was really awesome, but now I have to train for the real thing in case something might happen underway. I know that every Sailor aboard has had some training, but now I will get more experience and learn more about it. I will write some more next time and tell you all about it. Bye bye.
Here is another update from Bill & Carol concerning Typhoon Melor - Thanks once again for sending this to me. It is great to have some sort of an idea where the BHR is and what is happening out there.
Looks like there won’t be any assistance needed from BHR
Typhoon Melor slowly churns away from Northern Marianas in Pacific as residents begin cleanup
Associated Press 10/03/09 8:00 PM EDT
SAIPAN, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS— A typhoon churning across the western Pacific moved away from the Northern Mariana Islands on Sunday as residents began cleaning up after gusting winds and minor flooding.
With Typhoon Melor clearing the U.S. commonwealth's three main islands, the National Weather Service cancelled the last remaining typhoon warning for the island of Agrihan. Similar warnings for Saipan and Tinian ended earlier Sunday.
About 2 1/2 inches of rain fell on Saipan in a 24-hour period, including two inches of precipitation over six hours, said weather service senior forecaster Paul Stanko in Guam. The strongest wind gusts topped out at 53 mph, he added.
"It could have been a lot worse," Stanko said, adding that the island would have experienced more calamity if it was located 20 to 30 miles further south. "They narrowly dodged a bullet."
Tinian experienced similar rain measurements and wind gusts, Stanko said. However, his office has not received an update from Agrihan.
The eye of the storm traveled directly over the island of Anatahan, which was populated until the 1990s when volcanic activity grew dangerous, Stanko said. A major eruption occurred in 2003.
The Saipan Tribune reported that nearly 550 Saipan residents gathered at seven shelters Saturday afternoon. It said Tinian's one shelter, set up in an elementary school, was empty.
No major injuries or significant structural damage were reported on Saipan, according to the Tribune.
The governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Benigno R. Fitial, has canceled emergency conditions for Saipan and Tinian, according to a statement from the commonwealth's emergency management office. Agrihan, though, remains under the emergency directive.
Melor was located 185 miles northwest of Saipan and Tinian, moving west at 17 mph, as of early Sunday. Maximum sustained winds are 130 mph.
SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands — Residents of the Northern Mariana Islands are bracing themselves as Typhoon Melor churned across the Western Pacific.
Three islands in the U.S. commonwealth — Saipan, Tinian and Agrihan — remained under a typhoon warning, while a typhoon watch for Rota was downgraded Saturday to a tropical storm warning, the National Weather Service said. A tropical storm warning for the neighboring U.S.territory of Guam also was canceled Saturday.
Most businesses had shut down by Saturday morning, and Saipan residents who don't live in concrete homes have moved to typhoon shelters, said Charles Reyes, Northern Marianas Gov. Benigno Fitial's press secretary.
The government has opened six shelters on Saipan and one on Tinian.
Foreign contract workers, who typically stay in company-provided barracks, were bracing for the worst. Many of the buildings have thin roofs and are made from lightweight wood.
Most residents have stocked up on food and water supplies ahead of expected flooding.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, was moving west through the Northern Marianas by early Sunday, the weather service said. Melor was expected to intensify over the next 24 hours, it said.
As of early Sunday, Melor was located 95 miles north-northwest of Saipan, moving west at 16 mph. Typhoon force winds of up to 70 mph extended up to 60 miles from the center of the storm.
Saipan, Tinian and Agrihan were forecast to take the brunt of the storm, with the National Weather Service saying damaging winds could knock down trees, triggering power outages.
Rainfall of up to 6 inches and waves as high as 16-feet were possible, forecasters said.
Some airlines canceled flights in the Northern Marianas, and most government and private sector employees were told to leave work Friday.
On Guam, villagers living in tin-and-wood homes had been urged to seek refuge in storm shelters.
Residents have been rescued from collapsing homes during previous typhoons, so they were asked to relocate to shelters ahead of this storm, Yigo Mayor Robert Lizama said. Hundreds have relocated to 12 public schools designated as storm shelters, he said.
The U.S. Coast Guard advised mariners not to leave shore until the storm passes.
Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepared food, water and beds as Typhoon Melor closed in. The agency had more than 90,000 meals, 2,500 cots, 3,800 blankets and 85 power generators waiting in the Northern Mariana islands and Guam.
An additional 110,000 meals and more supplies are ready to be shipped from Hawaii to wherever they're needed. Those supplies are also available to help the recovery from the tsunami that hit American Samoa earlier this week.
The USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship, is east of the islands and is prepared to offer assistance to residents if needed, the Hawaii National Guard said in a statement. Navy submarines and Air Force aircraft have left Guam.
"We're watching it, but it is a normal weather pattern for this time of year, and we're cautiously optimistic there will not be a significant blow," said Adm. Timothy Keating, who is head of the U.S. Pacific Command.
Guam is located about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii, just south of the Northern Mariana islands.
Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander Visits Bonhomme Richard
Pacific Fleet Deputy Commander Visits Bonhomme Richard
PACIFIC OCEAN – Deputy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk flew aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) to meet with mission commanders, Sailors and Marines on Sept. 30.
“It was a chance to see the great Navy-Marine Corps team about ready to conduct their deployment and see how well they are prepared,” said Admiral Van Buskirk. “It also gave me a first hand look at how business is done aboard Bonhomme Richard”
The admiral met with Capt. Rodney Clark, Commander, Amphibious Squadron Seven; Col. Gregg Olsen, Commanding Officer, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit; and Capt. John Funk, Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer to discuss Maritime Strategy and the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group’s (ARG) deployment. He also toured the ship, meeting with Sailors and Marines and expressing his gratitude and best wishes on their deployment.
“You can see the pride and the great teamwork that’s involved with preparing the ship and executing the mission. Everywhere I walked on board the ship I could see Sailors and Marines preparing to do the job they may have to do or that they’re going to do in service to their nation,” said Admiral Van Buskirk. “It’s purely a pleasure and an honor to meet just a small portion of the Blue-Green team.”
I received an email from Jack on Monday the 28th. All is well and the internet was down on the ship so he could not contact us. The most recent pictures are of Combat Cargo receiving supplies(Jack is part of Combat Cargo). The others are flight ops and weapons.
Jack left 1 week ago aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard for a 7-mounth deployment. He and his more than 4,000 shipmates will be sailing the high seas, available within a 24-hour window to provide humanitarian efforts, security, rescue operations and yes, possible enemy conflicts.
I am not able to post where he is going or the Marines will have to kill me. I actually do not really know. I have an idea but I will not be posting it here until the ship has left for another destination. That being said, are you ready to sail? Then we are underway.
As most of you know, Les and I took a whirlwind 19-hour trip to San Diego to pick up Jack’s car and see him off. All I can say is that will not happen again. After leaving at 5:30pm, arriving at 1:00am, promptly getting lost 3 miles from the hotel, Jack GPS’s us and finding us, we finallymade it to the hotel and went to bed at 2:30am. We then got up at 5:30am, as Jack had to report to the naval base by 7:00am.
Jack then checked in while we had breakfast and after he returned to take us on a tour of the ship. We probably walked ¼ mile just to reach the ship. I must say the BR is quite an amazing site especially when approaching from a distance. The closer you get it just seems to loom over you like a gentle giant. By the end of the morning, my neck hurt from looking up it.
We climbed up three flights of metal stairs and crossed a gangplank onto the side bay door. We walked around on the first level and after Colors, Jack and I walked up a long steep walkway to the flight deck. I just kept thinking how can jets land on such a small area. He also give me a tour of the galley, post office and through the hallways (which I sure have a name so guess I have to learn Navy terminology now) each with watertight doors all the way to his berthing. We did not go in as to respect the other Marine’s privacy.
The ship was due to leave at 10am but we found out it would not be sailing until 11:30am, so we just sat on the dock under the big bay door as it provided us with shade. I made a couple of trips back up to the restaurant to get drinks and such and finally the time came. We already said goodbye to Jack earlier as he wanted to gets things squared away on the ship before it left.
We watched as family after family hugged, kissed and cried. These moments really pull at your heartstrings. This is the second send off I have been to and they do not get easier. At least you know that you are in the same boat so to speak as everyone else there.
Soon the Sailors and Marines manned the rails. It is hard to describe the sense of pride I felt watching these heroes take their places. Even though they looked so strong and stoic I know each one of their hearts must be breaking too.
Our group moved to the end of the dock and we watched sailors release the huge ropes that held the BR to the dock. Everything was done with such precision and professionalism. After that, the BR slowly inched forward and the tugboats gently began to turn her around. During all of this there was this one gentleman standing on the dock arms outstretched holding an American Flag toward the BR. He held fast and strong until the ship was almost out of site. I have to admit, that was the single most moving event of the day. I am going to leave it at that and just say that I am proud to be an American today and everyday.
Family & friends
candice.garces@... Carol F
drjefflehew@... Jennifer K
lorvaldez@... Marcie B
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