Sea combat commanders embark Bonhomme Richard for exercise Valiant Shield

USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Photo: US Navy

A contingent of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 staff embarked aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on September 11, to serve as the sea combat commander (SCC) for the expeditionary strike group during the upcoming joint exercise Valiant Shield.

This will be the second time DESRON 7 has embarked on Bonhomme Richard, the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group with the previous embark taking place in the spring for Ssang Yong 2016.

“It’s good to be back aboard Bonhomme Richard and integrate with the expeditionary strike group in this role as sea combat commander,” said Capt. Lex Walker, deputy commodore, DESRON 7. “Destroyer Squadron 7 offers an important capability in managing surface assets to defend and project power for the ESG.”

DESRON 7’s primary duties while embarked will be to oversee movements for all ESG ships, coordinate surface fire support, utilize air assets for search and surveillance, and coordinate anti-submarine warfare operations.

ESG 7 is comprised of Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Valiant Shield is a U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among U.S. forces. Participants include USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), nine surface ships, the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group – to include three amphibious vessels – an estimated 18,000 personnel and more than 180 aircraft from the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

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