‘Bonhomme Richard’ – Honor Burned-Out US Navy Assault Ship – Sink it Near Florida

Rather than wasting upwards of $30 million to prepare the fire-ravaged warship for scrapping, some lawmakers are requesting the formerly mighty USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) be sunk in waters near Florida instead. The amphibious assault ship was completing a three-year, $250 million dollar refurbishing to turn it into an F-35B stealth fighter ‘Lighting Carrier,’ when it was destroyed by a fire in July, apparently started by a disgruntled sailor.

Repairing the 844-foot-long Wasp-class amphibious assault ship was deemed too expensive at over $3 billion, and it was decided to decommission and scrap the fatally wounded ship at a cost of $30 million and a one-year process. But now, a bipartisan letter to Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker, signed by 22 lawmakers, notes that, in addition to the cost savings, the ship would serve as an environmental and economic benefit to the local community and state as an artificial reef.

According to a Tweet by freshman Republican Congresswoman from South Florida, Maria Elvira Salazar, the letter said:

The USS Bonhomme Richard is an ideal candidate for artificial reefing and would be welcomed by the people of Florida…based on the state’s experience, we believe that the U.S. Navy will spend significantly less than $30 million and be able to proceed in an expedited timeline to sink it in Florida as an artificial reef. It is our hope that you will send the USS Bonhomme Richard to Florida where its story and legacy can continue.

As I wrote at the time, a comprehensive Navy assessment concluded the cost to restore Bonhomme Richard used by the Marines, similar to the ship I deployed on in the late 1980s, could exceed $3 billion and require between five and seven years to complete.  Repurposing the warship as a hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship could cost over $1 billion, which is as much or more than a new-construction.

This new proposal would “save taxpayers millions of dollars” by sinking it somewhere near the Sunshine State. And the environmental value as an artificial reef would be immense.

However, I would strongly suggest the ship be sunk in relatively shallow water, allowing scuba divers, such as myself, to explore the massive wreck. This would be the best way to honor this fine naval vessel.

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Steve Penrod
Steve Penrod
9 months ago

The common sense thing to do, so with this current administration it will never happen.

KDS
KDS
9 months ago

Put it in the middle of San Fransisco for all the ILLEGALS to live and defecate in.

Bill
Bill
9 months ago
Reply to  KDS

That actually is a good idea.

pamela
pamela
9 months ago
Reply to  KDS

NO DO NOT DO THAT as it would disgrace the honorable name of the ship.

CrustyOldGeezer
CrustyOldGeezer
9 months ago
Reply to  pamela

Easy fix:

Rename it to

GO HOME RICARDO

Jim Hodges
9 months ago

Sink it!

Gene Ralno
Gene Ralno
9 months ago

I’d like to know more about the disgruntled seagoing arsonist.

JKL70
JKL70
9 months ago
Reply to  Gene Ralno

Actually, I’d like to know what the penalty was.

Linda
9 months ago

How much wuld it be to build a new one not that this adminitration would do it.

CrustyOldGeezer
CrustyOldGeezer
9 months ago
Reply to  Linda

In the story:

Repurposing the warship as a hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship could cost over $1 billion, which is as much or more than a new-construction.

Darrough Diamond
Darrough Diamond
9 months ago

Surely the Navy could CONSERVE value more creatively than sinking such a magnificent shell of a vessel!
An investigation seems essential!

Rob
Rob
9 months ago

Does this sound right? If they sink it won’t they have to do everything they would normally have to do to scrap it? I can’t imagine the crazy environmentalists would allow them to just sink it as is.

Janet Dizpalermo
Janet Dizpalermo
9 months ago

Use it as a reef on the coast of Florida as an artificial reef.

Milo Swanson
Milo Swanson
9 months ago

You DO realize that preparing the ship for scrapping and preparing the ship for sinking as a reef are pretty much the same, right? The EPA has a protocol for intentional ship sinkings/artificial reefs… https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/artificialreefguidance.pdf

Jamey
Jamey
9 months ago

Excellent idea. Remove any possible “sucker holes” for scuba divers first.

June
June
9 months ago

My father worked on the Bonhomme Richard during World War II. He was always telling us stories about the battles that this ship was in. we kids grew to admire the Bonhomme Richard and the brave U.S. fighting men who served on her. She definitely belongs to U.S. history. The ship deserves to be honored (not discarded). The idea of it being sunk in shallow water off the Florida coast would allow it to be used as a reef and also as a sort of museum to tell citizens about its famous fighting history

Milo Swanson
Milo Swanson
9 months ago
Reply to  June

June, That was a different ship with the same name. It was decommissioned in the 70s, and scrapped in 1992. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bon_Homme_Richard_(CV-31)

This one was constructed in the mid-late 1990s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bonhomme_Richard_(LHD-6)

Rob Skeel
Rob Skeel
9 months ago

Sinking it makes the best use of it for less cost.

John
John
9 months ago

I can only hope that they remove the Fuel Tanks prior to sinking her. Can you begin to imagine the effect that fuel would have on the coastal waters of Florida?? Even if they drain remaining fuel, unless they CLEAN the tanks thoroughly, there would still be fuel getting into the Ocean.

Will
Will
9 months ago

Why not turn it into a museum or something? The idea of scrapping, or sinking an otherwise serviceable ship seems like the the worst possible option. There are already a few ships docked permanently across the country. I’m sure there are still some parts of America that would welcome this ship as a remembrance to it’s service, and the troops that served aboard her.

Oh, and that sailor that started the fire should be executed for an act of war. At the very least he should be locked in Leavenworth and forgotten about.

madmemere
madmemere
9 months ago
Reply to  Will

There is a battleship museum, in Fall River, Massachusetts – -they could possibly tow it there, for display among the other battleships submarines and PT boats. I visited there almost 20 years ago, but don’t remember if they had any flight carriers in the bay. A lot of history is anchored there and well worth a visit, when and if you have the time, or want to do something a little different. Not terribly far from Boston, just further down the coast.

Bama Bill
Bama Bill
9 months ago
Reply to  Will

B1den will most likely give him a promotion and a medal? We have to get him and the “Soros Liberal Groups” out of the government! I suggest y’all read the goals of the “Open Borders Society”? From memory, “No Governments, Borders, or Religions, with the ‘Elite Billionaires’ in Complete Control”! He already has his “European Union”, Barry Soetoro was groomed to give him an “American Union” but failed. Then came Hillary, now B1den.

Robert Sohn
Robert Sohn
9 months ago

Thank you for the update. Sounds like a good idea to decommission the ship and sink it in shallow waters off the coast of Florida to serve as an artificial reef. This idea would save U.S. taxpayers the monetary expense of trying to rehab the ship and repurpose it for some other idea that would be less than ideal. Maybe, a small military museum to honor the ship and other fallen heroes would be good. It would help educate the next generation of the sacrifices of the men in uniform. God bless.

Adjunct George
9 months ago

I would really like to see the studies on whether to fix or sink. I cannot believe it would be easier to build a new ship than to fix this one. If nothing else, it could be fixed to use as a training carrier. Much of the cost is in the electronics and defensive armament.

Grampa Mullan
Grampa Mullan
9 months ago

just how much will it cost to remove everything that wont contaminate the waters of the gulf? and forgive me my ignorance of just how could a fire cause so much damage to a ship designed to withstand enemy attacks?. tell me how one sailor could set a fire so damaging? having spent time on this same carrier back before it was damaged I saw records of hits and damage it suffered. so just who decided that after spending all the money to refurbish it are willing to spend more to strip it and make a home for the fish? while it is true it isn’t the best America has.how many nations could use it for their own protection. Japan comes to mind. having it operate in these waters would only add to the deterrents to such threats as north Korea. having aircraft that are battle ready and within range of Russia China and N Korea would be a plus and the purchase price would provide money to update other ships.the push for environment should be over voted by national safety. who is pushing this action? ———Grampa


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