Yokosuka, JAPAN - Medical professionals from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force visited 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) on Feb. 1 for a tour of the ship and medical spaces during a subject matter expert exchange with U.S. Sailors.

Fourteen medical officers and enlisted medical specialists toured the ship's medical and operational spaces, including digital X-ray facilities, main battle dressing station and dental offices.

"I've had the chance to visit their ships before and it's similar but also different," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Philip Keehn, a tour guide during the visit. "I really think it's important to show them how we do things and share our cultures so we can keep our link strong."

Blue Ridge medical staff explained standard examination and treatment processes and the ship's medical equipment sterilization procedures before the JMSDF medical personnel to provide their insights on shipboard medical care.

"They have never been aboard a ship before. We want to show them what some of the equipment and facilities that operate at sea look like," said Lt. Shinya Yufune, a divisional officer at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka.

The students completed their residency training spring 2010 and are in their final stage of training before deploying to hospitals and temporarily aboard JMSDF ships, said Yufune.

"This strengthens an already very strong relationship any time we are able to share fellowship. It just continues to build that relationship," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Christopher Moore, a presenter during the visit.

After visiting medical department, the guests were invited to tour the ship's bridge, flight deck and foc'sle before departing for a tour of USS Shiloh (CG 67) and that ship's medical and operational spaces.

For more news from USS Blue Ridge, visit www.navy.mil/local/lcc19/.