Friday, March 06, 2009

7th Fleet Flagship Arrives in Korea for Joint Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The amphibious command and control flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), arrived March 5 in support of the commander of U.S. 7th Fleet and his staff, who are participating in the joint military exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2009.

A majority of embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff Sailors will spend time directly engaged in the exercise.

While in Busan, Blue Ridge Sailors will ramp up damage control, engineering, and force protection training efforts while preparing for the ship's various inspections in the coming weeks.

Sailors will also participate in community service projects in Busan at the Hee-Rak-Won Children's Welfare Foundation and Blue Bird Retirement Home to strengthen existing relationships within the South Korean community.

Sailors will also have the opportunity to go on shopping trips to Osan sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office as well as tour the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the area that separates North and South Korea.

In addition to the community service projects and MWR activities, there are several sporting events scheduled between Blue Ridge and Republic of Korea Sailors in basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.