The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) hit a 48-year historic landmark by surpassing the ship’s underway record, marking 65 days of continuous underway operations, on May 17.
Blue Ridge’s previous record of 64 days was set during the Vietnam War when she left port April 5, 1972, and stayed at sea in and around the Gulf of Tonkin until June 2, 1972, when she moored in the Philippines.
The 2020 Blue Ridge patrol changed with the outbreak of COVID-19. The ship and crew have spent 65 consecutive days underway, and counting, an unusual length of time for a ship well-known for its frequent port visits. While not a normal Blue Ridge patrol, the ship and her crew have remained at sea conducting operations during this challenging pandemic, including supporting 7th Fleet command and control and supporting partners and allies across the region, as opposed to a physical visit.
To stay operationally ready Blue Ridge’s crew has utilized the extended time at sea to maintain training, operational standards and capability and even hit some major milestones for the crew throughout the patrol.
Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and as 7th Fleet command ship, works to foster relationships among allies and partners within the Indo-Pacific region. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet has approximately 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors in the AOR at any given time.