Last week we hosted 18 navy and marine service people and as a surprise bonus we were invited on a tour of their ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard.
What a cool ship she is!
The Bonhomme is an amphibious operation, which means the back of the boat looks like a gator’s mouth: there is a wide opening in the back well that can be opened even larger as the ship lowers its ballast to the back end to let out giant landing rafts that can transport a dozen humveess and tanks to shore, loaded with marines. The ship had three of these crazy rafts. You can see in the photo above the giant fans that inflate the crafts so they can float to shore.
I’d never really seen tanks or humvees in person and they are so stinking big!
Oshkosh, as it turns out, makes more than little boys overalls. It was amazing to think of all of the planning that goes into just loading up a ship like this.
And while I felt a lot of pride to be an American with such a fully prepared armed forces, I also was very cognisant of the fact that none of the equipment on this boat had ever been used.
Up top, there was a runway to land helicopters and jets. It was pretty cool to see the helicopters up close.
This is the giant missile system that protects the Bonhomme.
But our guide said that they would be in trouble if they ever had to use it as it has a relatively short range. Those little circles each have a missile behind them.
The boat afforded some great views of Victoria Harbor. We took a 30-minute boat ride out from Central to board this giant boat.
Above you can see both IFC and ICC which is pretty cool.
Our tour was led by a really lovely lady whose job it is to DRIVE this boat! Can you imagine?!
She showed us around her “office” where she drives the boat.
The Bonhomme is a steam ship and can travel up to 20 knots.
She weighs in at 40,000 tons and regularly carries 1200 Navy and can transport 1,800 Marines.
I thought all the navigational equipment was really quite beautiful in its own sturdy, traditional way.
Here I am pretending to ring the bell… which is actually automated!
The secondary mission of the boat is medical and one whole floor is a hospital. The room above can be turned into an ICU; you can see all the lamps and equipment just needs to be lowered into place.
After aircraft carriers and medical boats, it has the third largest medical facilities of all of the Navy’s boats. One whole floor is dedicated to medical.
This elevator takes patients from the airstrip directly to the O.R. The ship has everything a modern day hospital has and has several operating theaters and can accomodate 300 patients in an ICU.
Isn’t this a cool shot into an O.R. from the port hole? To end, I’ll leave you with some shots of the service people over at our home for a BBQ.
My neighbor Kirsten and I hosted and we asked some girlfriends to accompany to have more people on hand to chat with the service people. Unfortunately, the Mr.’s were caught at work, so we ended up having the Marines and Navy guys help with the BBQing. I think they actually miss doing things like this and they did a much better job than the girls would have done on their own so it all worked out!
We hosted the BBQ down by the pool / parking lot in the kiddie play area. It was nice to be outside!
Tequila shots were requested by some and so we obliged!
And finished up with some nice desserts!
A sweet ending to a sweet night! It’s always such a pleasure to meet these men and women and thank them for their service. If you’re interested in hosting, simply email: email@example.com