SOUTH CHINA SEA - The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) is in the midst of a patrol of the south Indo-Asia-Pacific region where the crew and embarked staff will conduct port visits and engage allies to strengthen partnerships.
Since beginning their patrol on May 24, Blue Ridge Sailors have been conducting damage control, maintenance and material management (3M) and engineering casualty control training. This follows their passing score on the ship's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) May 10.
Afloat Training Group Western Pacific members have been aboard gauging Blue Ridge Sailors and engineering personnel on casualty repair and control by running various shipboard drills, while also reviewing work centers on their 3M records upkeep and maintenance performance.
"The Sailors are just coming off a very successful INSURV but don't get a chance to take a break as we have more inspections coming up in engineering, damage control and 3M," said Blue Ridge Command Master Chief, Mark Tomlinson. "The liberty ports and the chance to mingle with the local populations will be a welcome reprieve from the multitude of drills and inspections they have been fighting through for the last few months."
Blue Ridge's Morale, Welfare and Recreation department will offer service members the chance to experience various local markets, theme parks, memorials and other cultural sites each port visit has to offer.
"When the United States Navy and our allies work together, we show the world leaders that we are ready to protect ourselves," said Tomlinson. "We provide humanitarian services when needed and allow our Sailors to spend time in the area of operations, offering them a chance to enjoy some well deserved liberty."
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for nearly 34 years. As the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift, Blue Ridge is vital in forging partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.