The US Navy’s Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the embarked 31st marine expeditionary unit (MEU) has concluded a nine-day certification exercise (CERTEX) in the East China Sea.
The ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) along with amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Ashland (LSD 48).
CERTEX is an all-round, complex training evolution that assesses the Navy and Marine Corps maritime and sea-to-shore capabilities.
The exercise had staged a wide range of complex scenarios to assess the force’s ability to address and combat in several mission critical areas ranging from maritime boarding and combat flight operations to amphibious landings, raids and civilian evacuation drills.
The crew aboard the two vessels lent their support to more than 250 flight deck operations and conducted over ten landing craft launch and recovery evolutions displaying the Navy and Marine Corps maritime and sea-to-shore capabilities.
Amphibious Squadron 11 commander captain Ed Thompson said: "CERTEX is an opportunity to put our interoperability to the test.
"Integration with the 31st MEU is essential to the ARG’s mission readiness.
"Each scenario demanded a series of aircraft, landing craft, equipment and personnel movements.
"The ‘blue-green team’ drove the problem and safely executed the mission.
"I am proud of what our team accomplished over the past nine days."
The 256m-long Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) serves as a launch pad for assault helicopters, including six to eight Harriers for close air support.
USS Germantown is the second Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship and is forward deployed naval unit in Sasebo, Japan.
The vessel is equipped with two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, two 25mm Mk-38 guns, six .50-calibre Machine guns and two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) systems.
Image: A landing craft air cushion (LCAC) disembarks from the well deck of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeanette Mullinax / Released.