US Navy celebrates USS Bonhomme Richard’s 21st birthday

The USS Bonhomme Richard amphibious assault ship sails in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sydney, Australia, on June 29, 2017, after a ceremony on board the ship marking the start of Talisman Saber 2017, a biennial joint military exercise between the United States and Australia. Photo by Jason Reed - Pool/Getty Images.

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Navy announced Friday that sailors aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship and the third American warship to bear the name, recently celebrated its 21st birthday with a day of community service at Naval Base San Diego.

Sailors from each of the ship’s 13 departments participated in Thursday’s event, during which participants cleaned and beautified the base. After the clean-up project, the ship’s crew held a picnic at Breakers Beach in Coronado to celebrate the anniversary of the ship’s commissioning.

“The event went really well,” Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Joshua Bloodgood said. “The sailors were real excited to get out and make our base cleaner, where we work and give back to what we call our home.”

The Bonhomme Richard has been homeported at Naval Base San Diego since 2018, when it returned after a six-year homeport switch to Sasebo, Japan, while becoming the command ship for the Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group Seven.

Prior to 2012, the ship was homeported in San Diego and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and assisted relief efforts in southeast Asia after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“I want to thank our sailors for the tremendous job they do, not just today cleaning our base, but the work they do every single day,” Command Master Chief Joe Hernandez said. “Their tireless dedication and professionalism is a testament to the ship’s success over the last 21 years and is the reason we will continue to be successful in the future.”

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