News: 31st MEU helps BHR simultaneously refuel, transfer cargo without docking
Story by Lance Cpl. Codey Underwood
USS BONHOMME RICHARD - Three large ships moving at the same speed, pumping fuel and transferring cargo can present a number of difficulties in its execution. However, through meticulous practice and logistical planning, the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) laid testament to the efficiency of its crew during the resupply operation.
Marines and Sailors from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit helped the crew of the BHR in conducting replenishment at sea here, September 4.
A RAS is conducted while a ship is conducting maneuvers at sea. RAS operations allows ships to be resupplied and refueled simultaneously without stopping or sacrificing the time it would take to dock.
“Everything we do on this ship, whether it is a full-scale exercise or just a RAS, we are constantly coordinating and working together with the Navy,” said Sgt. Adrian Brown, an administration specialist with the Command Element, 31st MEU and a native from Pasadena, Calif. “There are two different branches on one ship, getting along, working together and accomplishing the mission as a team.”
The USS Bonhomme Richard came alongside two other ships, the USNS Pecos and the USNS Washington Chambers, with the BHR in the center of the formation.
The Pecos used large hoses that were connected to the BHR by cables between the ships to deliver over 800,000 gallons of fuel. Supplies were brought over from the Washington Chambers via FA-330J Puma helicopters, hooking cargo externally and flying aboard with their payload.
“I enjoyed getting to work to alongside the Navy during the RAS,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Rice, a rifleman with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 31st MEU and a native of Jackson, Mo. “This was a good chance for us to help out in something other than the exercises.”
Once all the cargo was transferred from one ship to the other, a 100-man Marine working party stripped the crates into single boxes and unloaded it all, placing everything into its respective area on ship.
“The crew did an all around good job, unloading over 260 pallets,” said Capt. Daniel P. Dusek, commanding officer of the BHR and a native of Waldport, Ore., as he addressed his crew. “That was the best RAS that I have seen from this crew so far.”
The embarked MEU will continue its regularly scheduled deployment throughout the Asia-Pacific region, conducting theater security operations and bilateral exercises.
The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.