By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Kurt Riggs, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) passed its latest round of operational tests July 29, becoming certified in both amphibious operations and aircraft operations, accomplishing both within two weeks of leaving an extended maintenance period in its homeport of San Diego.
Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Jonathan Harnden credits the crew's hard work and dedication in accomplishing this nearly unprecedented achievement.
"It's never been done this well - and this quickly, that I know of," Harnden said. "Really, the crew deserves all the credit. They're the ones who've just been teeing off on these assessments and drills. It's been a lot of hard work, but the pride, professionalism and preparation is all paying off now. The crew is on fire, and I love being a part of it."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW/SW) Cherry Pizzarelle, air department leading petty officer, said she is very happy with the accomplishments of her team.
"We're pretty happy to get the assessments out of the way, so now business can return to normal," she said of the crew achieving their certification on the first try. "It sure is nice to know we've got that kind of skill level on board."
Bonhomme Richard is currently underway en route to the Seattle Seafair, an annual maritime-themed festival aimed at displaying naval pride and the resources of the city through several community relations events including ship tours open to the public.
With their operational assessments complete, following a $140 million maintenance and dry dock period, Bonhomme Richard is scheduled to return to its homeport of San Diego following Seattle Seafair.