Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bonhomme Richard Conducts MISSILEX for RIMPAC 2010

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) launches a RIM-7 Sea Sparrow as part of a missile exercise (MISSILEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercises. RIMPAC is a biennial, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional partnerships and improve interoperability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Katherine K. Barkley/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted a live-fire missile exercise July 9 while underway for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, a biennial multinational exercise designed to strengthen operational readiness and improve multinational interoperability.

"To be the one to actually fire the missile was great," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Caleb Scott. "It's very rare that we get to do this, and we've put in a lot of man hours preparing for this."

During the firing exercise, Bonhomme Richard launched a NATO Sea Sparrow RIM-7P missile, giving the ship credit for a live missile shoot.

Two teams stood by ready to fire, and as the launch took place Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines, along with an array of multinational militaries on board the ship, had the opportunity to witness the firing.

"It was an amazing event to see," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Raphael Hobson. "That was my first time ever experiencing something like that."

In preparation for the firing, Combat Systems Fire Control 4 workcenter completed more than 50 maintenance checks, more than 300 hours of pre-fire requirement checks and more than 100 hours of troubleshooting faults to ensure that the missile systems were up to standards to conduct a safe missile firing.

"Our guys put in a lot of time getting ready for the firing," said Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Chief Jose Zertuche. "Everyone was a major contributor, from the maintenance guys to those who were a part of the administration portion in getting ready for this."

Zertuche added that anytime you are conducting missile shoots safety is paramount, and every safety precaution was taken into consideration during the exercise.

"What a great day of training aboard such a magnificent warship," said Capt. John W. Funk, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer. "Superb efforts went in from everyone that participated in the missile exercise, and a Bravo Zulu goes out to everyone for successful completion of such a challenging event."