Local graduate serving overseas

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published June 3, 2016

 St. Clair Shores native and Warren De La Salle graduate Christopher Schwall is a petty officer 3rd class serving in Japan aboard the only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard.

St. Clair Shores native and Warren De La Salle graduate Christopher Schwall is a petty officer 3rd class serving in Japan aboard the only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard.

Photo provided by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

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SASEBO, JAPAN — A 2008 Warren De La Salle High School graduate is proudly serving his country as a member of the U.S. Navy.

St. Clair Shores native Christopher Schwall is a petty officer 3rd class serving in Japan aboard the only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Bonhomme Richard.

According to a news release from the Navy’s Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs, “forward deployed” means being mission ready when the crew gets a call to answer, whether humanitarian relief or regional security.

Schwall is a boatswain’s mate aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan. A Navy boatswain’s mate is responsible for upkeeping and preserving the ship’s external features and for providing 24-hour lookout and security both in port and out at sea, the news release states.

“Serving in the Navy has meant being a part of something bigger,” Schwall said in a prepared statement. “It gives me more of a sense of pride in the people who have served before me. What I like best about my job is being hands-on and always on the move.”

With a crew of more than 1,000, Bonhomme Richard is 884 feet long and weighs approximately 40,000 tons, and is considered one of the largest of all amphibious warfare ships. The watercraft is equipped with a mix of helicopters and attack aircraft, launchers and machine guns, and an extensive medical facility with 600 hospital beds.

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