USS Bonhomme Richard – On Scene with Bill Wilson

bon-1
The coat of Arms of the USS Bonhomme Richard
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

bon-2
The vast space of the USS Bonhomme Richard
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2011

One of the ships in port for fleet week is the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6). It’s vast space was used as the site for the Senior Leaders Seminar, a two day exploration of disaster and humanitarian response. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan were two of the panelists who discussed regional cooperation in disaster response at an afternoon roundtable along with Captain Cynthia Stowe, US Coast Guard, and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier.

bon-3
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

However for me the highlight of the day came after the speeches were over. As Mayor Lee was leaving he asked f it was possible to get a tour of the ship, I asked if it was possible to go along and the answer to both questions was yes.

bon-4
Jonathan Harnden, Captain, Commanding Officer of the USS Bonhomme
Richard (LHD 6) gives Mayor Lee a tour of the upper deck
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

In her welcoming message in the program book Senator Feinstein noted that this is also the 100th anniversary of the first shipboard landing of a Navy airplane which took place in San Francisco Bay. It was evident as we walked the long deck to view the helicopters on display that we are still on the cutting edge. Captain Harnden proudly pointed to the newest design Osprey helicopter that has rotating wings that give it both vertical take off and landing capability and standard turboprop cruising ability.

bon-5
Captain Harnden and Mayor Lee. Mayoral aide Paul Henderson is on left
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

By the time we had walked to the end of the deck the drizzle became a little more persistent so we didn’t spend a lot of time looking around and enjoying the view, but it was spectacular.

bon-6
The view of the city looking down from the deck to the parking lot
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

The ship has another unique feature called a well deck or well dock which is a hangar-like deck located at the waterline in the stern. By taking on water the ship can lower its stern, flooding the well deck and allowing boats and amphibious landing craft to dock within the ship. This facilitates moving cargo between the ship and smaller craft during amphibious operations. Well decks are a feature of modern types of amphibious warfare ship such as the Landing Helicopter Dock, which is what the LHD in the name of the ship stands for.

bon-7
This area can be flooded to allow landing craft to dock within the ship
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

The USS Bonhomme Richard is open for tours from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday and from 8 to noon on Monday at Pier 30-32. For further information on ships available for touring check out the Fleet Week website http://www.fleetweek.us/page_ships.html

bon-8
The view of the deck looking up from the parking lot
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2011

See Related: San Francisco Fleet Week traffic and transit impacts

See Related On Scene with Bill Wilson Archive

bill-wilson-1-175
BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.


Comments are closed.