By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timmy Wakefield, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Sailors from 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), embarked 7th Fleet staff and Marines assigned to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific arrived in Jakarta for a port visit, strengthening bonds between the American and Indonesian navies and governments, May 11.
Blue Ridge was last in Jakarta April 2010, establishing goodwill and maintaining relationships throughout the region. During this port visit, Blue Ridge intends to do the same through community service, sporting events with host country nationals and interacting with the community.
"Visits like this allow us to continue to strengthen our relationship and share similar interest through our professionalism and personal interactions," said Blue Ridge Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Ralston. "This development is critical because Blue Ridge and the Indonesian navy have collaborated on major humanitarian assistance operations, including the December 2004 tsunami and the September 2009 earthquake.
Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet staff Sailors will join locals during community outreach projects in Jakarta. Events include visiting a children's home and and participating in various sporting events. The 7th Fleet band will also perform and some of the crew will spend their spare time experiencing Jakarta's culture, shopping and food.
"I've never been to this port before so I'm not sure what to expect," said Engineman Fireman Jonnary Pagan. "That's what makes it so intriguing for me. I just keep an open mind about every new place I go so I'm always learning from the cultures I experience."