Sunday, March 13, 2011

It was supposed to be a simple port visit, working with the Boy Scouts. Then they had to rescue Japan!

110218-N-9094S-186 PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 18, 2011) The U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) is underway in the Pacific Ocean. Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone/Released)

USS Blue Ridge Arrives in Singapore
Story Number: NNS110311-08 Release Date: 3/11/2011 12:12:00 PM

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Singapore, March 11, for the ship's first port visit to the city since October 2009.

Blue Ridge and embarked 7th fleet Sailors will continue strengthening ties in the international city through community service events and cultural exchanges during the ship's port visit.

Sailors and embarked Marines of Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific will visit and volunteer at the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Boys' Town and the Street 11 Mission. Boy Scouts, military members and local residents are also scheduled to tour the ship for a glimpse of daily operations aboard a U.S. Navy vessel.
110302-N-9094S-146 SEPANGAR, Malaysia (March 2, 2011) Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Mandela Gbieor, assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), plays with a child during a community service event at the Bukit Harapan Theraputic Community. The center is a home for orphaned and disabled children. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone/Released)

The ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation program is offering Sailors the opportunity to join tours ranging from cultural history to theme parks during the ship's stay.

"I've been to Singapore before, but this is my first chance to get out in town and actually see the city," said Lt. Roy Lopez, Commander, 7th Fleet lead force flow planner. "I'm going on a cultural tour of Singapore. Singapore has diverse cultures, and it's great to learn their history and how they've influenced the city."

USS Blue Ridge readies to provide aid to Japan

Story Number: NNS110312-13 Release Date: 3/12/2011 7:44:00 PM

By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian A. Stone
110312-N-0864H-210 SOUTH CHINA SEA (March 12, 2011) Sailors aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) move pallets of humanitarian relief supplies across the ship's flight deck during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), not pictured. Blue Ridge is ensuring the crew is ready if directed to assist with earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart/Released)

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) -- Seventh Fleet command flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors and embarked 7th Fleet staff members are preparing for humanitarian aid and disaster relief support operations while sailing toward the eastern coast of mainland Japan March 13.

Blue Ridge Sailors loaded a humanitarian aid/disaster relief (HADR) kit while moored in Singapore Friday night and set sail Saturday morning. Shortly after departing Singapore, the ship completed replenishment-at-sea operations with USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), receiving fuel and additional supplies.

"I'm amazed at the things we've achieved in such a short time," said Master Chief Information Systems Technician Lonnie Gillilan, who led the recent on-load preparations aboard Blue Ridge. "We've all been pulling together, no complaining. I'm very impressed."

Sailors worked past midnight Friday, loading equipment to allow Blue Ridge to provide fresh water and supplies during HADR support operations.

"It's giving me a sense of accomplishment to know that the work we're doing could help people out," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Patrick Ramos, who helped push crates of supplies from the flight deck.

Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jonathan Howton, a leading petty officer aboard Blue Ridge, has experience conducting HADR support operations in conditions similar to those location in Japan affected by the recent tsunami.

"I was aboard USS Iwo Jima when we provided aid to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina," said Howton. "In a disaster situation you have to prepare for the unknown. You never know what's going to happen."

USS Blue Ridge is uniquely equipped and able to perform amphibious command and control operations and is ready to support assigned HADR relief efforts.

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