March 24, 2019 – U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) arrived in Langkawi, March 25, ahead of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) Exhibition.
U.S. Navy ships have visited Malaysia for decades, and this visit during LIMA is part of a regular series of port visits, exchanges and exercises with the Royal Malaysian Navy. This port visit, along with bilateral exercises like Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and humanitarian assistance missions like Pacific Partnership, are the latest reflections of a comprehensive partnership with Malaysia based on shared principles and interests. The visit to Langkawi is also a first for both ships and many Sailors on board.
“We are proud to be here in Langkawi for the first time in our ship’s long history,” said Capt. Eric Anduze, Blue Ridge’s commanding officer. “It is truly an honor to support our partnership with Malaysia, and taking part in the LIMA expo is a great experience for our Sailors. We are looking forward to the interactions we will have over the next several days.”
While in Langkawi, the U.S. Navy and other services will showcase ships, aircraft and personnel during static displays, demonstrations and professional exchanges. Participating U.S. Navy aircraft and squadrons include an MH-60R Sea Hawk from the “Easyriders” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37, a P-8A Poseidon form the “Golden Swordsman” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, and two EA-18G Growlers from the “Scorpions” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132. Exhibitions like LIMA provide important venues for multi-national dialogue, collaboration and cooperation with counterparts from many regional navies.
“Taking part in the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition is a great opportunity for the Preble crew to build relationships with our Royal Malaysian Navy counterparts,” said Cmdr. Leonardo Giovannelli, USS Preble commanding officer. “This visit allows us to deepen partnerships with regional navies, while enjoying an amazing visit to Langkawi, Malaysia.”
Sailors will also have opportunities to enjoy liberty in Langkawi and interact with local citizens.
“Everyone is extremely excited to visit Malaysia and meet the wonderful people here, experience many cultural activities, and simply execute liberty as a mission,” Anduze said.
Preble is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
As 7th Fleet’s flagship, Blue Ridge, provides a mobile command and control capability throughout the Indo-Pacific. Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force.