Story by PO1 James Mitchell on 01/20/2016SASEBO BAY, Japan - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted an ammunition on load Jan. 20 in preparation for its patrol of the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Sailors assigned to the ship's weapons department worked in conjunction with civilian contractors of the Navy Munitions Command (NMC) to receive more than 200 pallets of ammunition and ordnance onboard.
"As we prepare for our patrol, we're bringing on all the necessary ammunition that we'll need for the ship and to support Marines," said Lt. Cmdr. Jeffery Hall, Bonhomme Richards weapons officer. "It's all about us being prepared, being war fighters and having everything we need on board to support the mission."
Gunner's mates and aviation ordnancemen worked around the clock to on-load, inventory, and organize loads ammunition that arrived via barge.
"The weapons department is responsible for maintaining all of the ammunition for the Navy and the Marines on board. We issue it, we maintain it, and we make sure that the fleet has ready-for-use ammunition when it's time to execute the mission."
For many members of the weapon's team, this on load was just a normal part of the job. However, for Aviation Ordnance Airman Michael Holzemer, this was the first time that he participated in an evolution fundamental to his rate underway.
"The AO rate is very interesting. I plan to learn all that I can about it and I'm excited to gain more experience," said Holzemer. "It's very exciting. For me this opportunity is epic."
Weapons department leadership expects to maintain that same level of enthusiasm throughout the patrol.
"My hope for the future operations of our department is to excel and be ready to fight," said Hall. "Be ready to give the war fighters the ammunition they need knowing that it's going to perform as advertised."
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For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.