CAIRNS, Australia - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Cairns, Australia while on patrol in the South Indo-Asia Pacific region July 27.
Blue Ridge is in Cairns fostering positive relations with regional partners and affording crew and embarked staff the opportunity to enjoy an area of Australia known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.
"We are working closely with our Australian partners to demonstrate our commitment to security and stability in the region," said Lt. Cmdr. James Coker, USS Blue Ridge operations officer. "Blue Ridge has met every expectation of this deployment on time and with the professionalism you would expect of U.S. Navy Sailors.”
While in Cairns, the crew will also be able to interact with Australian nationals, enjoy the local culture and take in all the sights.
Blue Ridge sailors will also get the unique opportunity to participate in a game of Australian football with local Australian football players in a sporting event hosted by the Royal Australian Navy.
“Each opportunity we have to interact with our allies helps strengthen our bond and better understand each other,” said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Robert Smith, Blue Ridge Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports coordinator. “I’m looking forward to learning a new sport, meeting the Australian football players and enjoying this unique experience.”
Blue Ridge port visits represent an opportunity to promote peace and stability in the South Indo-Asia-Pacific region. As the 7th Fleet flagship for Vice Adm. Scott Swift, Blue Ridge is crucial in demonstrating commitment to regional partners and fostering growing relationships.