SOUTH CHINA SEA – The amphibious 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) March 10, while on a routine patrol in the international waters of the South China Sea.
Replenishments at sea provide the Navy with the ability to supply its forces afloat, maintaining a sustained forward presence wherever they may be needed in the world. Replenishments at sea are a standard practice for almost every U.S. Navy ship.
“For Blue Ridge, RAS’s are critical”, said Capt. Kyle P. Higgins, commanding officer of Blue Ridge. “We have to have the operational flexibility to operate forward throughout the entirety of the 7th Fleet area of operations. Being replenished at sea allows us to sustain ourselves, almost indefinitely in times of crisis, emergencies or other operations.”
“The opportunity to conduct it specifically here, we exercised our right among merchant and other traffic, in keeping with international law,” continued Higgins. “What happened today, two warships receiving fuel and stores professionally and safely, demonstrates the uniqueness of our Navy and allowed us to continue on with our patrols.”
The transit followed Blue Ridge’s successful port visit to Manila, Republic of the Philippines as part of their routine patrol in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, strengthening and fostering relationships through military-to-military engagements and cultural exchanges.
Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 36 years. As the flag ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, Blue Ridge is vital in maintaining partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.