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Port Charlotte native serving in Japan aboard Navy’s only Forward Deployed Amphibious Assault Ship

July 1, 2016
By Lt. Robert Kearley - Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

SASEBO, Japan A 2012 Port Charlotte High School graduate and Port Charlotte, Fla., native is serving in Japan in the U.S. Navy aboard the only forward deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Gander is a logistics specialist aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan.

A Navy logistics specialist is responsible for providing all aviation squadrons with parts, equipment, and any of additional needs that enable effective operations.

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Gander.

"What I like best about my job is that in providing logistics support, we can do anything for anyone," said Gander. "Camaraderie is also important, and I enjoy working alongside the many sailors, marines, and the various squadrons on a daily basis."

With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy's presence in Sasebo is part of that long-standing commitment.

With a crew of more than 1,000, Bonhomme Richard is 884 feet long and weighs approximately 40,000 tons. Resembling a small aircraft carrier, Bonhomme Richard is one of the largest of all amphibious warfare ships.

Bonhomme Richard is equipped with a mix of helicopters and attack aircraft, launchers and machine guns and an extensive medical facility with 600 hospital beds.

"The sailors in my crew never cease to amaze me with the effort they put into their daily work," said Capt. Jeffrey A. Ward, commanding officer of USS Bonhomme Richard. "Their dedication and hard work make me proud to be in command of Bonhomme Richard and this crew."

According to Navy officials, Bonhomme Richard sailors work rigorous hours filled with drills and training to assure that the ship is always mission ready.

"Being forward deployed means that we're the first individuals out at moment's notice, providing emergency and humanitarian relief when needed and ready to fight," said Gander.

Navy officials explained that the unit is highly motivated, and quickly adapts to changing conditions including a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

"Serving in the Navy means carrying on a tradition like both my grandfathers, who both served in the Navy, and paving the way for future generations," added Gander.



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