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    BHR Captain Discusses "Ready Now! Ready Always!," Introduces New Self Improvement Initiative - Rise Above



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cosmo Walrath 

    USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)

    By MC3 Cosmo Walrath, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs

    SAN DIEGO - Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) gathered for a commanding officer's all hands call at the Naval Base San Diego Theater, February 7.

    Capt. Rich LeBron, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard, spoke about his command philosophy of "Ready Now! Ready Always!" and why it is important for Sailors, even while the ship is going through an extended maintenance availability.

    "When My boss asked me to get underway for two weeks to support a PHIBRON MEU Integrated Training (PMINT) on one of our strike group ships the only answer I knew how to give was 'Aye-aye, let's go,'" said LeBron. "I need every single one of you to be of that disposition, and not just in terms of willingness and attitude.  I need you to be ready financially and have stability of family and mental health; all those things that matter and keep you on an even keel. It's about being Ready Now! Ready Always!. It's not just a bumper sticker to make you guys shout it out whenever I say it.  I really do mean it, and spending time to seek help or improvement helps maintain readiness."

    Cmdr. Dennis Andrews, command chaplain of Bonhomme Richard, spoke about the ship's new initiative "Rise Above," that is designed to encourage Sailors to invest in themselves through self-improvement.

    "Rise Above," said Andrews. "That is the phrase that is going to drive everything we're going to do for our Sailors, regardless of rank. We're designing right now an experience for Sailors so they can rise above, no matter where they are."

    The Rise Above initiative brings in resources from the Navy as well as outside sources, to include Fleet and Family, the San Diego Police Department, college representatives and more.

    "We're going to have resources to help you personally and professionally," said Andrews. "We're going to have new events and training every month. You're never going to be Ready Now! Ready Always! if you don't self-improve.  Our primary goal is to have you leave this command better than when you arrived."

    Sailors assigned to Bonhomme Richard have been executing a four day work week. The day off was originally intended to help Sailors reconnect with their families after their homeport shift from forward-deployed Naval Forces in Sasebo, Japan to San Diego, California. LeBron said that he believes Sailors have now had the opportunity to reconnect with family, and as he plans to keep the schedule, he is refocusing its purpose to community, command, and/or self-improvement and utilizing Rise Above as another avenue to maintain his philosophy of Ready Now! Ready Always!

    Yeoman 3rd Class Jamal Thompson, from Brooklyn, N.Y., said he has been using his time to improve himself as a Sailor.

    "I just got my IW (Information Warfare) pin," said Thompson. "I'm taking my extra time off to work on my STA-21 (Seaman to Admiral) package, as well as my Air pin. I'm also studying for advancement, so I've got a lot of things I'm juggling right now, but I really enjoyed this all hands. The captain made some great points on using the extra time given to us to improve ourselves and keep ourselves prepared for any situation."

    Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class David Stepper, from Absarokee, Montana, has been spending his time with a focus on community by organizing a cleanup of Coronado Beach.

    "In general, there is a stigma towards the Navy and the military in general that we go around the world and leave a mess," said Stepper. "I think seeing Sailors out in the community picking up messes sends the message that we actually care about where we live and the places we go. I'd like to keep this up maybe even do a beach cleanup every week."

    "My aim is to maintain the four-day workweek for as long as we possibly can," said LeBron. "This is about making sure you guys have the ability to rise about. It all plugs in together. You have four days where you work. I don't care if you work eight hours or 18 during each of those four days. I don't look at the clock and I don't keep score. I'm looking for results. I'm looking for a product. I'm looking for a ship that is Ready Now! Ready Always!. That day off that was originally purposed towards connecting with your friends and family will now be used to Rise Above. What I've asked the Chiefs to do is find opportunities for us to Rise Above and do things that help the ship, yourselves, the Navy or the community as a whole."

    Bonhomme Richard is in its homeport of San Diego.

    For more information about Bonhomme Richard, visit our Facebook page at and on Twitter at




    Date Taken: 02.07.2019
    Date Posted: 02.22.2019 09:46
    Story ID: 310983
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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