YOKOSUKA, Japan – Members from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) ship JS Uraga (MST 463) visited USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), U.S. 7th Fleet command ship, for an annual holiday gift exchange with Blue Ridge crew members Dec. 14.
The gift presented to Blue Ridge, known as Kadomatsu, is intended to bring good luck and prosperity during the New Year and signifies the appreciation JMSDF has for the continuous efforts of Blue Ridge Sailors in the communities of the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
Blue Ridge's Commanding Officer Capt. Brett E. Crozier and Command Master Chief Charles Ziervogel accepted the gift on behalf of Blue Ridge and presented JMSDF members with a pair of holiday pine saplings in return.
Crozier had this to say about the continued by-lateral opportunities between Blue Ridge and the JMSDF.
“The Blue Ridge crew is forward deployed to Japan and works closely with our JMSDF counterparts so it’s important that we learn each other’s customs and cultures. This gift exchange is just one more way for us to continue learning and growing as allies.”
Blue Ridge frequently participates in military exercises and community service events, strengthening regional partnerships in the 7th Fleet AOR.
“This exchange is a great opportunity for our two navies to interact and share our traditions,” said Ziervogel. By doing so, we help to strengthen our partnership. It also give us a rare opportunity to interact on a more personal basis and that’s something we can all enjoy”
USS Blue Ridge is commanded by Capt. Brett E. Crozier and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76 and is the command ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.