By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin A. Flinn
YOKOHOMA, Japan – U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Yokohama, Japan for a port visit March 30.
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan since 1979, and regularly conducts port visits within Japan strengthening the 35-year partnership.
The Blue Ridge team consists of more than 900 crew members including embarked 7th Fleet staff, the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 and Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific.
Coming to Yokohama allows Japanese citizens outside Yokosuka the opportunity to better comprehend daily operations on a U.S. Navy ship.
“Every port visit we make strengthens our partnership with the country we visit, but visiting other areas in Japan allows much more interaction between our Sailors and our host nation,” said Blue Ridge Command Master Chief Mark Tomlinson.
Machinery Repairmen Fireman Garrett Goodman has been stationed on Blue Ridge for just under three months and is completing his first patrol.
“I plan on going out with a friend and shopping,” said Goodman. “I like going to different places in Japan because I’m usually working while in port. I think we’ll benefit from this exposure to Yokohama because people there might not usually get to see us.”
Blue Ridge will host a Friends and Family Cruise which allows Sailors to invite friends and family members onboard for tours, food and other activities as the ship transits back to Yokosuka.
“This cruise will instill more pride in our Sailors as their loved ones can see them in action, and it provides an opportunity for people to get a snapshot of what being in the Navy is like,” said Tomlinson.