By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Norman, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Sailors aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), embarked 7th Fleet staff and Marines assigned to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific departed Jakarta, Indonesia May 15, after a four-day port visit strengthening bonds between the U.S. and Indonesian navies.
Blue Ridge Sailors participated in a community service event that gave them the opportunity to demonstrate the Navy's dedication to fostering positive relations with countries in the Asian-Pacific region.
They participated in sporting events with Indonesian nationals and interacted with the community through an outreach project involving a children's school. Sailors volunteered their time at the Yayasan Pendidikan Bangun School to help create a soccer field for the children.
"Giving my time to create a soccer field for the children at the school was a very fulfilling and rewarding experience," said Ensign Wanda Colon, Blue Ridge stock control officer. "The work we did at the school was hard labor, but the children made it all worth while. You could tell the children really wanted us there."
For one Sailor, the port visit was much more personal.
"I was glad to have this opportunity to come back to Indonesia after being a part of the relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami," said U.S. 7th Fleet Staff member Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Philip Keehn. "It was enlightening knowing I helped Indonesia get back on its feet when I was assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in 2004. I never thought I'd be back to Indonesia to see how the Navy's hard work paid off."