US Navy Decommissions USS Bonhomme Richard Assault Ship after Fire

The assault ship suffered extensive damage following a fire in July.
Fabienne Lang
USS Bonhomme RichardU.S. Navy

After over 20 years of service, the USS Bonhomme Richard, a U.S. Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, will officially be decommissioned.

The U.S. Navy made the statement on Monday, saying it would cost billions to repair her, ultimately more than it would cost to build a new ship. 

The USS Bonhomme Richard suffered extensive damage following a disastrous fire in San Diego in July, the reasons for which are still undergoing investigation


"Following an extensive material assessment in which various courses of action were considered and evaluated, we came to the conclusion that it is not fiscally responsible to restore her," said Secretary of the Navy, Kenneth J. Braithwaite, in Monday's statement.

"We did not come to this decision lightly," he continued. 

A thorough assessment of the fire's damage was carried out and it turns out that the cost to repair the ship would go over $3 billion, requiring between five to seven years of repairs. 

US Navy Decommissions USS Bonhomme Richard Assault Ship after Fire
The USS Bonhomme Richard in its hayday. Source: U.S. Navy

Moreover, rebuilding the ship for alternate purposes would cost approximately $1 billion — the equivalent or more than a newly-built hospital ship, submarine tender, or command-and-control ship.

The ship will ultimately be towed away and dismantled, the timeline of which is still being debated. 

"Although it saddens me that it is not cost effective to bring her back, I know this ship’s legacy will continue to live on through the brave men and women who fought so hard to save her, as well as the Sailors and Marines who served aboard her during her 22-year history," Braithwaite said.

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The fire in July took four days to extinguish, and may have been the U.S. Navy's costliest. When the USS Bonhomme Richard was commissioned back in 1998 it cost the equivalent of $1.2 billion today

The U.S. Navy doesn't built this class of ships any longer, focusing on its latest America Class ones, which cost approximately $4.1 billion to build.

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