“Island Knights” Embark Bonhomme Richard

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Kitchner

SASEBO, Japan – The “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 embarked the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, in preparation for an underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, Jan. 23.
As a regular part of Amphibious Squadron 11 and the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), the primary mission of HSC 25 is to provide combat search and rescue operations, but is also capable of providing logistics support such as passenger transfer, vertical replenishment as well as airborne mine countermeasures and ship defense.

“We are a multi-mission platform, so we pretty much do it all,” said Lt. Bethany Harrison, HSC 25 assistant officer in charge. “We are the primary search and rescue asset on board other than the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, but with the armed helicopter package we can provide anti-surface warfare capabilities and the insertion and extraction of special warfare groups as well.”

The ARG and all embarked units including HSC 25 and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will participate in an amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX), take part in the annual multinational combined joint training exercise Cobra Gold, and conduct various other exercises.

During AIT and CERTEX, the participating units will be demonstrating amphibious assault capabilities, humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations, and non-combatant evacuation missions.

During upcoming exercises and operations, the Sailors of HSC 25 expect to have the opportunity to increase their proficiency across a variety of skill sets, including working with other air assets of the ARG and providing close air support for the MEU.

“We are looking forward to becoming a valuable asset to the PHIBRON ships,” said Lt. Danielle Gill, HSC 25 operations officer. “The squadron has been integrating with the ARG and the 31st MEU for a long time and it is always a great experience.”

Cobra Gold is an annual U.S and Kingdom of Thailand sponsored joint, multinational exercise intended to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore.
The U.S. Navy continually strives to build and strengthen partnerships with its allies. Joint exercises demonstrate enhanced amphibious capability of American and partner nations and promote interoperability through maritime security operations.

Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to the commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

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