Blue Ridge Conducts Sea Trials, Preps for Spring Patrol in 7th Fleet AOR

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Hendricks

YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) departed Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, to conduct sea trials prior to initiating its spring patrol season in the 7th fleet area of operations, Feb. 16.

160216-N-XF387-089 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 16, 2016) - Commanding Officer of the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19),Capt. Kyle P. Higgins, stands on the bridge as the ship departs Yokosuka. Blue Ridge is undergoing sea trials in preparation for its 2016 patrol cycle within the 7th Fleet area of operations, after completing a 6-month selected restricted availability maintenance period. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liz Dunagan/ RELEASED)

160216-N-XF387-089 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 16, 2016) – Commanding Officer of the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19),Capt. Kyle P. Higgins, stands on the bridge as the ship departs Yokosuka. Blue Ridge is undergoing sea trials in preparation for its 2016 patrol cycle within the 7th Fleet area of operations, after completing a 6-month selected restricted availability maintenance period. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liz Dunagan/ RELEASED)

During sea trials, Blue Ridge will execute a series of exercises, testing every aspect of the ship and crew, from full power runs and boilers flexes to seamanship training including man overboard and abandon ship drills.

Blue Ridge spent the last six months in SRA, making repairs and improvements throughout the ship, ranging from major systems upgrades in Information Systems Department and Engineering Department to habitability upgrades.

“Sea trials is an opportunity to test the crew in all areas of the ship,” said Blue Ridge Operations Officer, Lt. Daniel Kohlbeck. “We just spent the last six months tied to the pier for renovations and repairs and now, we need to switch our mindset to being at sea.

“Sea trials will give us the opportunity to adjust to the high-tempo daily routine that being underway demands.”

Throughout sea trials, the crew will be expected to maintain and demonstrate its high standards of operability and attention to detail. They will also be tested to show that the ship is ready for patrol season.

“Sea trials is our opportunity to fully test the ship in a safe environment,” said Blue Ridge Chief Engineer, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Hartley. “Throughout dock trials and since the light off assessment, the engineers are already fully engaged and ready to deploy. We will be doing a full power run to check that all of our systems work in tandem.

“The crews focus will be key in determining if there are any outstanding issues that need to be addressed prior to our deployment in support of 7th Fleet operations.”

160216-N-YL053-014 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 16, 2016) - Operations Specialist 3rd Class Sebastian Adams, attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), stands lookout watch as Blue Ridge departs Yokosuka. Blue Ridge is undergoing sea trials in preparation for its 2016 patrol cycle within the 7th Fleet area of operations, after completing a 6-month selected restricted availability maintenance period. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Don Patton/ RELEASED)

160216-N-YL053-014 YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 16, 2016) – Operations Specialist 3rd Class Sebastian Adams, attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), stands lookout watch as Blue Ridge departs Yokosuka. Blue Ridge is undergoing sea trials in preparation for its 2016 patrol cycle within the 7th Fleet area of operations, after completing a 6-month selected restricted availability maintenance period. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Don Patton/ RELEASED)

For many Blue Ridge Sailors, sea trials will be their first time spent underway and the first opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with life at sea, away from Yokosuka.

“It’s my first time,” said Yeoman 3rd Class Daniel Ross. “I’m pretty nervous and it’s definitely a shift from shore command.

“Out at sea, the only people you have to rely on are your shipmates. I’m working to get my qualifications so I can contribute, especially my ESWS, but overall, I’m looking forward to experiencing life at sea and the challenges that come with it.”

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