7th Fleet Leadership welcomes Marine Forces Japan aboard USS Blue Ridge.

7th Fleet Leadership welcomes Marine Forces Japan aboard USS Blue Ridge.

by U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs Office
Stripes Okinawa

YOKOSUKA, Japan – The embarked staff and crew of USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) hosted Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF)/Commander, Marine Forces Japan, who toured the ship while moored at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Sep. 18.

Lt. Gen. Eric M. Smith, who took command in August, met with Commander, 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer to gain a better understanding of fleet operations and build relationships with staff leadership.

During their discussion, Smith emphasized the warfighting readiness of Marines in this area of operations and expressed eagerness to work with allies and partners in the region.

“Marines are ready to operate wherever we are needed and working with the Navy we get to leverage our mobility and flexibility to respond across the Indo-Pacific region,” said Smith. “Hard-working Sailors and Marines make for a formidable pairing.”

Discussions were also held regarding upcoming schedules, responsibilities, deliberate planning and mission-oriented training

"Strengthening the partnership between the Navy and Marine Corps is an integral keystone in the forward deployed forces of the Pacific,” said SSgt Justin A. Ransom, a Marine assigned to 7th Fleet Staff. “That partnership was tempered stronger with the visit of Lt. Gen. Smith on Blue Ridge; seeing policy in action at the highest level in III MEF,”

Ransom was inspired from the meeting of two of the top leaders from the Navy/ Marine Corps Team, and was also impressed by how Capt. Brett E. Crozier, Commanding officer of USS Blue Ridge, welcomed Smith onboard the 7th Fleet Flagship.

As a command ship, Blue Ridge has been forward-deployed to the Yokosuka area of operations for 38 years, patrolling and fostering relationships within the Indo-Pacific Region.

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