February 11, 2007

U.S. Navy Ship visiting Philippines to conduct community projects: Engineering, humanitarian, and medical programs planned

A U.S. Navy ship will visit the Philippines in February on a goodwill mission. In conjunction with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) will deliver donated goods such as clothes, toys, food, and medical supplies; provide free health clinics for citizens in poor or remote communities; and conduct engineering projects to construct and improve schools and public buildings.

USS Blue Ridge and embarked U.S. 7th Fleet Staff will visit select locations in the Philippines, reflecting longstanding ties between our two countries as well as our continued commitment to work together to assist people in need of humanitarian outreach. Specific dates and ports of call will be announced soon.

“The American people are committed to working with our friends and partners in the Philippines,” says Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney. “I’m proud that the USS Blue Ridge is visiting the Philippines, and I know that the dedicated men and women on board are excited to visit this beautiful country and to partner with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to assist the Filipino people.”

In addition to medical personnel, USS Blue Ridge will also deploy with a small team of engineers composed of “Seabee” Sailors from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion THREE in Okinawa and Marines from the First Marine Air Wing in Okinawa to perform repair and minor construction projects ashore. They will be joined by a group of engineers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who will embark onboard the ship for the duration of the visit in the Philippines. The U.S. 7th Fleet Band is also deployed aboard the ship and will be performing in select locations during its visit to the Philippines.

USS Blue Ridge conducts many community service projects throughout the region on a regular basis as a show of good will and partnership from the U.S. Navy. The ship is commanded by Capt. Jeff Bartkoski and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 / Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. USS 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.

Courtesy of U.S Embassy

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