USS Blue Ridge
INDIAN OCEAN (April 7, 2016) Seaman Devan Erichsen, right, attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), prepares to cast off a line. Blue Ridge is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations strengthening and fostering relationships within the Indo-Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Don Patton/Released)
Blue Ridge Departs Mumbai

MUMBAI, India (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) departed Mumbai, India after a regularly scheduled port visit promoting friendships and strengthening ties with U.S. allies, April 7.

During the ship's visit, Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to participate in community service events, volunteering with Corp India at the Sharnam Centre for Girls, leading activities and games with orphaned girls, and playing soccer with children from the Organization for Social Change, Awareness, and Responsibility (OSCAR) Foundation.

"I think the event improved our awareness as ambassadors and our relationship with India was strengthened by co-sharing our cultures," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lofann Simmons. "The event was a huge success and I can't wait to participate in future community service opportunities."

"It was great to experience a new culture and way of life," said Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Brian Jewell. "I really enjoyed the community service projects. It was great being a part of their world and helping to build our ties with them."

Blue Ridge also had the opportunity to compete against the Indian Navy in a friendly volleyball match.

"It was a lot of fun playing against their Navy team," said Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Jaquan Hartford. "It got pretty competitive, but it was all in good fun and I think it went a long way towards building our friendship with the Indian Navy sailors."

Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 36 years. As the flag ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, Blue Ridge is vital in maintaining partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

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