YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) completed three days of sea trials Nov. 16, after extensive training, a planned maintenance period and a successful light off assessment.
According to Blue Ridge Damage Control Assistant Lt. Jerry Belmonte, the crew was fully engaged in preparations leading up to sea trials after a two-month maintenance period with Ship Repair Facility (SRF) aboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka.
"We conducted testing on equipment that was repaired during SRF to ensure everything worked properly," Belmonte said. "The crew put in a tremendous level of hard work to get the job done right, and it paid off."
Such testing included bringing the ship to full power, flexing the boiler plants and testing relief valves, boiler safety and electrical generator plants.
Additionally, crew members participated in damage control exercises, proving proficiency within repair lockers and setting material conditions of readiness in an expeditious manner.
"The Engineering department and program managers performed safely and professionally throughout the assessment in demonstrating material checks and program reviews," said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Williams, Commander Task Force 76 training and readiness officer and senior engineering assessor. "The engineering spaces were at the highest standards of material readiness, looked amazing and minimum discrepancies were noted. All programs are in place, and program managers are heavily engaged."
Leading up to sea trials, engineers put in long hours to get ready for a light off assessment conducted by Expeditionary Strike Group 7 with assistance from Afloat Training Group Western Pacific. The ship's Engineering department conducted a series of checks and a main space fire drill as part of the assessment. During the assessment, each engineering system was verified as functional.
"Failing this assessment was not an option," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) Gilfredo Belantes, Engineering department leading chief petty officer. "Our Sailors were motivated to provide a quality example of damage control knowledge and ship readiness."
Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Dan Grieco, expressed his appreciation to the crew for its efforts in getting the ship ready.
"I am tremendously proud of the crew's performance during sea trials," Grieco said. "I give great credit to the engineers, combat systems technicians and flight deck teams for their tireless efforts to return the ship to underway operations and full certification after an extensive maintenance period."
Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, and is the command ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. Task Force 76 is headquartered aboard White Beach Naval Facility Okinawa, Japan, with an operations detachment in Sasebo, Japan.