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USS Bonhomme Richard: Namesake and Facts
by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam D. Wainwright - January 25, 2015

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AT SEA - Every great journey begins somewhere and this is the beginning of the journey of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).

Throughout the course of this journey, we'll detail what it takes to get a U.S. Navy warship prepared to take to the seas and help the Navy maintain its presence throughout the world. It's a combination of some of the greatest Sailors in the world and a dedication to a common cause that makes this possible.

This series will highlight the work of these Sailors, from the ones who launch the birds into the endless blue sky to the ones who work countless hours to keep Bonhomme Richard propelling forward, and paint a clear picture of the massive amount of work it takes to ensure Bonhomme Richard can take to the sea and execute her mission.

First, we'll give you the details of Bonhomme Richard and then turn the spotlight to the people that make her special.

November 22, 2014 -  The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) steams through the East China Sea. Bonhomme Richard is the namesake if the Continental Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. John Paul Jones, and carries on it's proud tradition today. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ty C. Connors)
November 22, 2014 -  The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) steams through the East China Sea. Bonhomme Richard is the namesake if the Continental Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. John Paul Jones, and carries on it's proud tradition today. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ty C. Connors)

Bonhomme Richard is a hallowed name in Naval history and elicits memories of great sea battles, immortal figures and the embodiment of Naval tradition. It all began with the wooden, 42-gun Continental Navy Bonhomme Richard. Originally built by France 1765 as a merchant vessel, Bonhomme Richard was propelled into history by legendary Navy Capt. John Paul Jones. On September 23, 1779, Jones steered Bonhomme Richard into the Battle of Flamborough Head against the British Warship HMS Serapis. After four hours of battling, the victory of Serapis seemed assured and the commanding officer of Serapis demanded Jones surrender. Jones reply is still one of the most well-known phrases in Naval history as he cried, “Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!.”

The battle continued, and although Bonhomme Richard had sustained irreparable damage, Serapis finally surrendered launching Jones and his crew into the annals of history. Bonhomme Richard sunk from the damage it sustained 36 hours later but, its proud tradition of valor in the face of adversity would carry on in its namesake, the Essex-class Aircraft Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31). The Bon Homme Richard aircraft carrier would serve its country proudly for 27years throughout the course of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, earning five Battle Stars along the way.

Today, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) carries on the legacy of the Bonhomme Richard name. Her technical details are startling: commissioned in May 1997, she weighs in at 40,500 tons and has a length of 844 feet. She can steam at a rate of 20 knots per hour and is kept running by a crew of 1,100 Sailors. When she takes to the sea, she can take on an additional 1900 Marines to provide land support in a time of crisis. In addition to transporting the crew, she has the capability to carry over 50 aircraft while launching up to three Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCAC) out of her well deck. It's a sterling combination of these abilities that enable her to execute her mission by land, air or sea.

At the heart of this modern marvel is her crew and, in the next part of this series, we will highlight the Sailors serving in her Navigation Department and Operations Department as they paint a picture of the coordination that goes into planning and executing Bonhomme Richard's mission.

By U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam D. Wainwright
USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

Comment on this article | USS Bonhomme Richard: Navigation | USS Bonhomme Richard: Weapons

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