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YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) returned to Yokosuka, Japan, Sept. 4 after concluding its participation in Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012 (UFG12).
As a part of UFG12, Blue Ridge visited Hakata, Japan as well as Busan, Pyeongtaek, and Chinhae, Republic of Korea (ROK), demonstrating combined interoperability and enhancing combat readiness between ROK and U.S. navies.
In each port, Sailors provided tours to distinguished visitors, such as U.S. Army Col. Don Degido, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District, and Adm. Yoon Hee Choi, ROK's chief of naval operations.
In all of the ports, Sailors volunteered at local children's centers to take on renovation projects and to interact with children by playing games and other activities.
"I sign up for community service projects to share my time with those who are less fortunate than myself," said Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Quinton Lewis. "I rearranged a children's library and had the opportunity to sing a young boy to sleep in my arms. It was a rewarding and heart-warming experience for me."
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, for nearly 33 years. As the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Blue Ridge is instrumental in forging partnerships in the region while leading the fleet with its advanced shipboard communications systems.