USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrives in Mumbai, April 3. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Consulate Mumbai)

MUMBAI, India - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Mumbai, India, April 3 for a regularly scheduled port visit to promote friendships and strengthen ties.

The Blue Ridge team consists of more than 900 members, including embarked 7th Fleet staff, Marines from Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) and the “Golden Falcons” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12.

This port visit is Blue Ridge’s first to India in 11 years.

“India is a growing naval power,” said Command Master Chief Charles Ziervogel. “This visit will definitely help strengthen our ties with them and renew our commitments and common interests.”

During the ship’s visit, Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to interact with the local community through community service events, such as working with Corp India, an organization that runs shelters, daycare centers and family counseling centers, and the Organization for Social Change, Awareness, and Responsibility (OSCAR) Foundation, which helps teach children the value of education through sports.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing a new culture and doing my part to strengthen ties with our allies,” said Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Brian Jewel. “We have some great community service projects lined up that I’m excited to be a part of.”

Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 36 years. As the flagship for Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, Blue Ridge is vital in maintaining partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.