The USS Blue Ridge epitomizes ruggedness, peacefulness, enduring and noble beauty. All those characteristics are exemplified in the presence and mission of the USS Blue Ridge in the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility.
On February 27, 1967 a flagship was born. Her keel was laid at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, the blood and sweat of hardened shipyard workers brought her to life one weld at a time until 19,200 tons later on November 14, 1970 she was christened a warship.
She is the third ship to bear the name Blue Ridge, but the first with the hull designator LCC, the Navy’s first modern Command and Control platform. Unlike its World War II predecessor of the same name, which had to be converted from a merchantman to an Amphibious Force flagship, the United States Ship Blue Ridge represents a unique effort and achievement in the naval ship design. Here for the first time is a platform built from the keel up to accomplish the mission of command and control coordination.
On April 9, 1971 Blue Ridge arrived in San Diego, California, her home for the next eight years. Blue Ridge left San Diego on July 2, 1979 and moored at her new forward deployed home port of Yokosuka, Japan on July 17, 1979. In October of the same year she became the permanent flagship of Commander, 7th Fleet. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm Blue Ridge served as flagship for Commander, United States Naval Forces Central Command from 1990 through 1991. The nine and one-half month deployment earned the ship a Navy Unit Commendation medal.
Through the years Blue Ridge earned nine Battle Efficiency “E” Awards, and in 2007 earned the Captain Edward F. Ney Award for best food service for large deck ships in the Fleet.
Blue Ridge continues to support 7th Fleet with updated command and control capabilities enabling her staff to coordinate U.S. and allied naval forces remotely. She is slated to remain in Yokosuka until 2020, more than ten years beyond her originally estimated decommissioning date. She is the face of the forward deployed naval forces, the tip of the spear, and the finest flagship in the Navy.
For more history on the current USS Blue Ridge visit the Navy Archive page at: http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/b7/blue-ridge-iii.htm