News: Blue Ridge builds friendship with Indonesia
Story by Seaman JAMES NORMAN
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Sailors aboard U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge , embarked 7th Fleet staff, and Marines assigned to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific departed Jakarta, Indonesia, May 15, after a four-day port visit strengthening bonds between the American and Indonesian navies.
Blue Ridge sailors participated in a community service event that gave them the opportunity to demonstrate the Navy’s dedication to fostering positive relations with countries in the Asian-Pacific region. They participated in sporting events with Indonesian nationals and interacted with the community through an outreach project involving a children’s school.
Sailors volunteered their time at the Yayasan Pendidikan Bangun School to help create a soccer field for the children.
“Giving my time to create a soccer field for the children at the school was a very fulfilling and rewarding experience,” said Ensign Wanda Colon, Blue Ridge stock control officer. “The work we did at the school was hard labor, but the children made it all worth while. You could tell the children really wanted us there.”
For one sailor, the port visit was much more personal.
“I was glad to have this opportunity to come back to Indonesia after being a part of the relief efforts for the 2004 tsunami,” said U.S. 7th Fleet staff member Petty Officer 1st Class Philip Keehn. “It was enlightening knowing I helped Indonesia get back on its feet when I was assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2004. I never thought I’d be back to Indonesia to see how the Navy’s hard work paid off.”