US fleet crew are always ready to serve
Published on: Friday, February 27, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: The Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) which berthed in Sepanggar on Monday had about 2,800 Americans on board who are ready to serve."This is a multi-purpose, multi-mission ship for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The ship is well-equipped," said its Commanding Officer Capt Joey Tynch.

"Medical capacity on this ship is for any sort of humanitarian assistance or disaster relief. It is the largest in the United States Navy," said Tynch during an interview with local media representatives on board the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) at the Sepanggar Naval Base, recently.

"We also took part in community service here. The recent one involved cleaning the beach."

He also shared that they responded to a sinking Korean ferry, last year.

"We were doing some training in Korea at that time and when we heard about it… we went there as fast as we could to provide whatever assistance we could."

While men take up a majority of the staff on board The Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), 10 per cent are women in the Marine Corps while about 18 per cent in the Navy.

This was confirmed by Public Affairs Officer, Lt. J.G. Jacqui Maxwell and Assistant Public Affairs Officer 1st Lt. George McArthur who were present during the Media tour. Also present were Commander (Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet) Rear ADM. Hugh D. Wetherald, Commodore (Amphibious Squadron Eleven) Capt. Heidi C. Agle.

In response to this, Tynch confirmed that it is common to have women captains on board US Navy ships.

"One of the things I love most about the US military is meritocracy. People will rise to the top regardless of their race, religion, sex... we're all treated the same, and everyone can rise to the top.

"She's not the only lady captain in the US Navy. I'm very lucky to work alongside Agle."

Meanwhile, Tynch and Agle were full of praises of KK's breathtaking views including the places, culture and people.

They also highlighted the Malaysian Navy's graciousness and such visit, of course, brings both countries much closer.

Both Tynch and Agle are not first-time visitors. Crew members, according to them, have been throughout KK during the last two days, taking part in community service, snorkeling, white water rafting, restaurant exploration (food tasting), shopping, soccer matches and mountain climbing.

Agle's description, when interviewed, brought forth the impression that the meaningful interaction was at the core of their mission, and was therefore, accomplished – two flags that stand side by side – people who bond, finding a common ground as fellow human beings.

This is the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) ship's first liberty call in 17 months. They departed from Sasebo, Japan – their homeport, and then headed to Okinawa. They continued with their exercises and training the whole way until they reached Kota Kinabalu.

Although unable to reveal their next destination, they are pleased with the hospitality here.

The US Navy has eight amphibious assault ships. The Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) design is able to carry Marines wherever they need to go.

They have air crafts that are able to take personnel and equipment to the shore very quickly.


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