SOUTH CHINA SEA - USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and Philippine Navy frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) sailed together, March 19, following the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship's port visit to Manila.
The ships conducted routine drills to strengthen both navies’ ability to communicate, maneuver and operate together. During the port visit, 7th Fleet staff members held talks with Philippine Navy counterparts. The U.S. and Philippine navies routinely conduct engagements, exercises and port visits like this and have done so for decades.
"I couldn't be prouder of the relationships we've built with our allies in the Philippines," said Capt. Eric Anduze, Blue Ridge's commanding officer. "Having the opportunity to work closely with them at sea only strengthens our crew's ability to operate in the Indo-Pacific."
Exercises like MTA Sama Sama, Balikatan, SEACAT and RIMPAC enhance maritime cooperation between both navies, while annual missions like Pacific Partnership bolster humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HA/DR) capabilities.
Blue Ridge recently completed a nearly two-year extended dry-dock selected restricted availability period and numerous certifications, to ensure she remains ready to provide security in the Indo-Pacific region. Blue Ridge is commanded by Capt. Eric Anduze and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force.