By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelby Sanders
YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) departed Yokosuka to patrol the Indo-Asia-Pacific region April 29.
Blue Ridge will provide advanced communications for 7th Fleet, enabling theater security cooperation and coordination of fleet engagement goals during the patrol.
“It’s good to get back into our regular operational routine,” said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Eric Paul. “I look forward to fulfilling our mission of supporting 7th Fleet and seeing first-hand the positive impact we have in our area of responsibility.”
The flagship is manned by more than 900 Sailors, including embarked 7th Fleet staff, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 “Golden Falcons” and Marines from Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific.
Blue Ridge recently completed a continued maintenance availability which included implementing new maintenance instructions.
“We’ve conducted self-assessments to learn where we need to improve and to ensure our ship and crew are ready to accomplish our mission,” said Chief Gas Turbine System Technician Wilfredo Ignacio.
Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet staff will continue to strengthen partnerships with local community outreach organizations.
“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to visit some nice ports, and it’ll be a wonderful experience for the Sailors who haven’t been there before,” said Blue Ridge Food Service Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Francisco Marigundon.
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 34 years. As the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, Blue Ridge is instrumental in forging partnerships in the region while leading the fleet with its advanced shipboard communications systems.