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Ship Visit

The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) spent six days berthed at Station Pier from 28 August to 3 September. The 275m long ship occupied nearly the entire inner east berth.

The ship had been on training exercises in the Indo-Pacific region to prepare for any contingency and ‘enhance warfighting readinesss’. The visit to Australia included joint training exercises with the Australian Navy.

preparing to leave Port photo: Larry Finn

Between ship and shore, sailors and marines were greeted by a group of Waterfront Welcomers, who came out especially for the occasion, before dispersing into Melbourne.

Over the six days, a steady stream of people came to view the ship – though you could hardly say there were crowds. There was a mildly festive mood.

USS Bonhomme Richard left Port on the morning of September 3rd against a background of escalating international tension with North Korea testing its missile capability to deliver nuclear weapons.

The last US warship to berth at Princes Pier was the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Tarawa, escorted by the destroyer USS O’Bannon, in 1954. The purpose of that visit was to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea which took place between 4 and 8 May 1942.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was seen as a turning point in the war in interrupting the Japanese advance towards Australia.

USS Tarawa photo courtesy of Allan Marshall

Thanks to Allan Marshall for his assistance with this post



  • Mel Butler
    Posted April 13, 2022 11.32 am 0Likes

    I remember my mother taking me to Port Melbourne to see a US aircraft carrier. I thought it was the Enterpise. Mid 1960’s or early 1970s. I think I remember walking in the carrier. Do you have records of US navy carriers that visited Port Melbourne during those years? Also, there was a US naval ship that was “too big to fit through the heads” in my childhood.

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.