Blue Ridge Undergoes FSO-M Certification
YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 14, 2018) â Sailors aboard 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC19) attend to a simulated injury victimâs wounds while participating in a mass casualty drill. Blue Ridge and her crew have now entered a final upkeep and training phase in preparation to become fully mission capable for operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam K. Thomas/RELEASED)

YOKOSUKA (NNS) – The crew of U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) successfully completed Fleet Support Operations-Medical (FSO-M) 1.1 and 1.2 assessments conducted Feb 20-March 12.

Medical Officer Cmdr. Leah Soley said the FSO-M certification is a measure of how well-trained the ship’s crew is in response to actual medical emergencies.

“When fully embarked, Blue Ridge has over 1,000 Sailors aboard. That’s approximately 50 Sailors per corpsman,” said Soley. “Odds are, when there’s an actual medical emergency, it’s going to be the First Responder aid that saves the victim’s life.”

During the first two phases of FSO-M, Blue Ridge has undergone extensive ship-wide training on basic first aid and various emergency medical situations, including an exam requiring 80 percent of the crew to pass with a score of at least 80 percent.

To complete phases 1.3 and 1.4 before the slated final certification date of March 30, the crew must be prepared to apply and perform all the training and skills they’ve received thus far, continued Soley.

“The third phase of FSO-M includes hands-on training provided by the Afloat Training Group (ATG) during an assessment of medical drills on the 11 battle wounds. The last phase reviews all the results of the prior phases in addition to conducting drills for patient transport, Battle Dressing Station operations, Mass Casualty situations and departmental first aid drills.”

As the training and evaluations move forward with ATG continuing to evaluate the ship’s medical readiness, FSO-M will continue to be an all hands event.

“This ship operates multiple complex evolutions every day, said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Belflower. “Finding the time to take our Sailors out of their normal day-to-day operations in order to inject crucial training has been challenging. The crew has really stepped up to make sure we do our best to certify.”

According to Soley, the preparation and training that began long before entering FSO-M is paying off, and is evidence Blue Ridge’s certification will be a successful event.

“I am very encouraged by the crew’s current readiness for FSO-M,” said Soley. “It’s clear the long term training provided at command indoctrination, divisional drills and duty section training has had a lasting impact on our Sailors’ knowledge. Due to their efforts and long hours of preparation, I’m fully confident the Command will receive full certification with record scores.”

Blue Ridge commissioned Nov. 14, 1970, making it the oldest operational ship in the Navy. After 47 years in service, 7th Fleet Flagship is scheduled to stay in active service for another 20-plus years.

As command ship for U.S. Seventh Fleet, Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to the Yokosuka, Japan, area of responsibility for 38 years, patrolling and fostering relationships within the Indo-Asia Pacific Region.

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