US Navy’s Amphibious Squadron 11 wraps up 3-month Indo-Asia-Pacific patrol

U.S. Navy ships steam in formation as part of interoperability drills between the Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG) in the South China Sea. Photo: US Navy
U.S. Navy ships steam in formation as part of interoperability drills between the Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) and Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHR ESG) in the South China Sea. Photo: US Navy

Ships of the U.S. Navy’s Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 completed their three-month, Indo-Asia-Pacific region patrol as part of the Bonhomme Richard amphibious readiness group (ARG), November 3.

The Bonhomme Richard ARG/Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team consisted of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay, amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown, and Marines from the 31st MEU.

Since departing Sasebo, Japan, August 4, the ships and crews of PHIBRON 11 participated in multiple exercises and events that honed their amphibious capabilities — one of which was the U.S.-only, biennial field training exercise Valiant Shield 16, which focused on the integration of joint training in a blue-water environment among U.S. forces.

“The sailors and marines of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Readiness Group and PHIBRON 11 executed this deployment safely as a well-honed team,” said Capt. Ed Thompson, commander, PHIBRON 11.

“Green Bay and the 31st MEU demonstrated a broad range of capabilities of the blue and green team during Valiant Shield 2016,” said Capt. Nathan Moyer, commanding officer of Green Bay. “This lets us, as an expeditionary strike group, move into a larger picture; including operating with special forces and operating as a battle group. That allows us to strengthen our ability to project power wherever it is needed.”

Another keynote event was PHIBLEX 33, an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and U.S. military forces bilateral exercise that enhanced interoperability between amphibious forces of both nations — including the ability to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises which endanger public health and safety.

Additional training events included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training and several live-fire exercises, including a missile exercises that saw NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles and Rolling Airframe Missiles successfully intercept remote-controlled drones.

Port visits during the patrol included Bonhomme Richard and Green Bay’s joint visit to Hong Kong, Bonhomme Richard’s visit to Singapore, Germantown’s visit to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and Green Bay’s visit to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

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