By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam K. Thomas, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA (NNS) - The USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19)/Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet team hosted 194 family members, friends, and guests from the local Navy League for an eight-hour Friends and Family Day Cruise from Yokosuka Naval Base through the Bay of Tokyo Dec. 7.
The event gave guests the chance to experience what life is like for a Sailor aboard Blue Ridge, including enjoying meals prepared from the ship’s award-winning culinary specialists and attending a 7th Fleet band concert.
“It’s a unique opportunity for our family members and friends to actually get onboard the ship, get underway with us and see what we do here,” said Lt. j.g. Eric Uhden, Blue Ridge’s friends and family day cruise coordinator. “It’s important for us to share these experiences with them - they deserve it. After all, it’s because of their support that we can do our jobs to the best of our ability.”
Sailors brought their friends and loved ones together under cloudy skies and chilly winds to see various displays of shipboard life and pose for photos. One display allowed visitors to dress out in full firefighting gear while learning about the role of damage control on the ship.
“This is the coolest field trip Friday ever,” said Teanna Hermansen, wife of 7th Fleet Medical Planner Lt. Brandon Hermansen. “We’ve been here in Japan supporting our Sailors for four years, and we’ve heard about all they do but have never had the opportunity to see it firsthand. This is a first for us. Of all the things we’ve done here, this takes the cake.”
According to Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Eric Anduze, the day was special for the crew as well.
“This event is a great chance for our friends and families to see just a little of what their Sailors do every day,” said Anduze. “It gives us the opportunity to thank those who sacrifice so much to support us. That support of our family and friends is absolutely vital to the success of our ship and the crew. I’ve enjoyed having everyone aboard.”
As this was the first chance for the team to host such an event completing a 28-month maintenance phase, the crew was proud to show off the ship and the results of their hard work.
“I’m hoping that all of the families and friends will leave with warm hearts and a better appreciation for what their loved ones do and the sacrifices each Sailor makes,” Uhden said.
Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and as 7th Fleet command ship, is responsible for patrolling and fostering relationships within the Indo-Pacific Region.