Monday, June 29, 2009

BHR ARG/MEU Team Completes Force Protection Exercise

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) 11 completed a two-day anti-terrorism/force protection (AT/FP) training exercise at Naval Base San Diego June 25-26.

"The training exercise tested the [ARG] in a lot of different scenarios that they may find themselves in overseas," said Lt. Mike McGee, the ARG's senior force protection officer. "A lot of the scenarios thrown at the ships were worst case, and they really challenged the ships."

Sailors and Marines from the ARG's three amphibious vessels, the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), trained to detect and defend sporadic notional threats on and around base piers.

"Commander, 3rd Fleet was in charge of the entire exercise," said McGee. "They put some really cool events in there to make the ships think and act. It was a lot of fun for the Sailors because they got to do a lot and see a lot of things they don't usually see."

The Bonhomme Richard ARG/MEU team is scheduled to begin a series of major at-sea training evolutions prior to the start of a routine deployment.

The upcoming integrated training exercises are designed to enable the ARG/MEU to work as a team and execute a range of operations during deployment to include security cooperation, theatre engagement and missions that help maintain freedom of the seas, prevent war and fulfill the maritime strategy.

Bonhomme Richard ARG is augmented by various support elements. These include Tactical Squadron 12, Detachment (DET) 2; the "Wild Cards" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, DET 3; Assault Craft Units (ACU) 1, DET B and ACU 5 DET F; Beachmaster Unit 1, DET B; and Fleet Surgical Team 9.