USS Bonhomme Richard to be decommissioned and scrapped. Link to some history, including priest martyrs of the French Terror.

I once wrote a rollicking post about priests who were martyred in the French Revolution, sent to die horribly on a “hulk” ship, the Bonhomme Richard, used as a prison off the coast of France.  HERE

Bonhomme Richard is perhaps not the best name for a ship.

Here is melancholy news about the 3rd of our vessels named Bonhomme Richard, Wasp-class LHD-6, an amphibious assault ship.   844 feet long and 106 feet at the beam.  The first  – captained by John Paul “I have not yet begun to fight!” Jones – sank in 1779.  She was, by comparison, 152 by 40 and a depth of 19.

From Navy Times:

Navy will scrap fire-ravaged Bonhomme Richard

The U.S. Navy will not repair the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, which burned for more than four days this summer in San Diego.

In the end, resurrecting the devastated large-deck amphib would have been too costly, Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander of the Navy Regional Maintenance Center, told reporters Monday.

The extensive damage to the flattop’s flight deck, island, mast and lower levels from the July 12 inferno would have required about 60 percent of the ship to be replaced, Ver Hage said.

To rebuild and repair the 22-year-old amphib would have cost between $2.5 billion and $3.2 billion, and would have taken five to seven years, he said.

To turn the stricken amphib into a hospital ship would have cost more than $1 billion and taken the same amount of time, he said.

Details on where the ship will be decommissioned and scrapped are pending, he added.


Hmmm… maybe the hulk of USS Bonhomme Richard could be repurposed for the “housing” of graffiti sprayers, business looters, police car burners, statue vandals, Antifa and BLM thugs, and people who cheated and committed voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election.  They could have a little productive time in the healthy sea air, doing some clean up, in preparation to be sent back to do more clean up in the cities they tried to ruin.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ocsousn says:

    If I had to receive this sad news from anyone, I’m glad it was you, Fr. Z. I was Command Chaplain aboard the Bonny Dick, as she was affectionately known in all her incarnations, from 2004 to 2006. It was one of the great experiences of my career and I have wonderful memories of my shipmates and deployments to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The first American Bonhomme Richard (Not to be confused with the infamous French prison ship of the same name!) was a gift to the Continental Navy from King Louis XVI and named by Queen Marie Antoinette as tribute to our first ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin. Bonhomme Richard is the French translation of Poor Richard, as in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Sailors complain all the time and will tell you that they hate life at sea. But, their loyalty to “their” ship is fierce and they will do anything to save her. This is a sad day for all of us who took her to sea and into harm’s way. May God bless her and all who sailed in her.

  2. Jacob says:

    Sad news, but not unexpected. A friend of mine is a member of a warship discussion group at Facebook and they were discussing awhile ago just this situation and the ships USN has in mothballs to fill the gap.

  3. tho says:

    In the 1950s my home port was San Diego, and I remember the second named Bon Homme Richard tying up at NAS North Island. As ocsusun explained, the Navy’s Bon Homme Richard had nothing to do with that infamous prison ship.
    Essex class carriers were named after famous American battles, or famous American ships that were in battles. One exception was the USS Shangri- la, and that was because, when they asked FDR where Doolittle’s raiders took off from, Roosevelt used the mystical place from a novel at that time, Shangri-la.

  4. Jacob says:

    One exception was the USS Shangri- la, and that was because, when they asked FDR where Doolittle’s raiders took off from, Roosevelt used the mystical place from a novel at that time, Shangri-la.

    Lost Horizons is a good read.

  5. Gosh! I wish you all would use my link and READ what I wrote about the history of the valiant ship’s name.

    For your convenience. HERE

  6. AA Cunningham says:

    Sad end to a fine boat. The suspected arsonist, if found guilty in a court-martial, should receive the max sentence of 20 years but serve it at hard labor at the Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth. A prosecutor worth their salt should be able to argue that this crime rises to the level of demanding a sentence of capital punishment.

  7. I have never head of this ship before and I am proud of her name. My mother’s family is from France and then moved on to Nova Scotia, last name Richard. So many people pronounce it like the the first name, Richard; it is pronounced Ree-Shard. I used to feel bad for my mom when people didn’t pronounce her name right.

    And not trying to get off topic, there is also a ship called USS Bordelon, my maiden name. It is nice to know that ships have been named after our families. ?

  8. Fr. Kelly says:

    I just read it, Fr. Z — and it is fascinating. Thank you.

    A trope on the Navy Hymn:
    O Father, King of earth and sea,
    We dedicate this ship to thee.
    In faith we send her on her way;
    In faith to thee we humbly pray:
    O hear from heaven our sailor’s cry
    And watch and guard her from on high!

    And when at length her course is run,
    Her work for home and country done,
    Of all the souls that in her sailed
    Let not one life in thee have failed;
    But hear from heaven our sailor’s cry,
    And grant eternal life on high!

    And with apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson:
    Here she lies, where she longed to be
    Home is the sailor, home from the sea

    God bless our sailors and marines!

  9. Cafea Fruor says:

    Ah, sad news. I have an old friend who’s a Navy chaplain who once served on that vessel. I’ll take this as a reminder to pray for my friend and for his current flock.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z for post and links.

    ocsousn: Ah, morning nautical twilight in the Indian Ocean, the ship engines thrumming as it rolls gently in the swells, on the flight deck rotors are spinning as the lads under the weight of their packs file up from the hangar deck out to the choppers guided by a sailor, breathing that memorable blend of sea air and engine exhaust. Good times. “We were amphibious once, and young.” Semper Fidelis, Padre.

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