USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Commanding Officer Capt. Will Pennington greets Japanese officials during a welcoming ceremony. 
130316-N-XG305-328 KURE, Japan (March 16, 2013) - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Commanding Officer Capt. Will Pennington greets Japanese officials during a welcoming ceremony after the ship pulled into Kure, Japan. Blue Ridge port visits represent an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrate commitment to regional partners and foster growing relationships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mel Orr/Released)
Blue Ridge Arrives in Kure 
KURE, Japan - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge arrived in Kure, Japan, for a port visit March 16.

While Blue Ridge is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, this port visit gives embarked Marines, U.S. 7th Fleet staff and Sailors an opportunity to explore another region of the country.

Sailors and Marines will participate in community service events, friendly sporting competions and have the opportunity to explore what their Japanese counterparts do during a tour of a Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship.

Blue Ridge arrives in Japan a day after U.S. 7th Fleet marked its 70th anniversary.

"It is great to be here in Kure to celebrate this great occasion," said Vice Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. "Our two navies and nations working together demonstrate our combined resolve to ensure that peace and stability are maintained."

Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to visit many attractions throughout the Hiroshima prefecture like "The Shrine Island" Miyajima and Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Park.

"I'm looking forward to seeing a completely different part of Japan than I'm used to," said Engineman 3rd Class Ivy Bonner. "There's quite a bit of important history that took place here."

For more than 30 years, Blue Ridge has maintained a presence in Southeast Asia region strengthening allied ties through community service projects and conducting joint military exercises with regional nations, including Japan.
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