|USS Bonhomme Richard (Image: Wiki Commons)|
From USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
CORAL SEA (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) departed Brisbane, Australia, Aug. 1, following a scheduled four-day port visit.
During the visit, Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) hosted shipboard tours, participated in community relations (COMREL) projects, and took advantage of tours offered through Bonhomme Richards' Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office.
As part of the COMREL events, Sailors from Bonhomme Richard volunteered at the Brisbane Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and visited the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.
"For me it's always good to be a part of something bigger," said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Sheryl Gutierrez, a COMREL volunteer at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital. "This is most likely the only time we'll meet these kids, but that exchange for just a minute or two, and being able to make these kids feel a little better about everything, makes it all worth it."
The crew was able to become more familiar with the culture and community of Brisbane through the MWR tours, which were designed to highlight local recreational opportunities. A few Sailors and Marines also had the opportunity to play a friendly game of rugby against local members of the Australian army.
Brisbane was the second port visit for Bonhomme Richards' crew since beginning operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in June, and the first since concluding exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS17). As the crew prepares to continue at-sea training and shipboard evolutions, many said they will always remember the visit.
"It was so beautiful every day in port," said Fireman George Baker, from Strongsville, Ohio. "My favorite things about Brisbane were the food, the people and the weather. It was a really cool environment. Sometimes it even reminded me of being back home."
Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.