BUSAN, South Korea - U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) now holds the honor of being the oldest ship in the U.S. Navy’s active duty fleet, next to USS Constitution, after the decommissioning of the USS Denver (LPD 9) Aug. 14.
Blue Ridge’s keel was laid Feb. 27, 1967, and she was commissioned Nov. 14, 1970. Since 1970 the flagship has had a rich history to include commanding Operations Eagle Pull and Frequent Wind during the Vietnam War, receiving the Humanitarian Service Medal in 1984 for rescuing Vietnamese refugees during Operation Boat People, performing a nine-and-a-half month deployment as flagship for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command during the Persian Gulf War and rushing supplies and relief to Japan during Operation Tomodachi.
“Blue Ridge has a rich history of providing our Navy with the most capable afloat command platform in the world,” said Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Richard McCormack.
To maintain her position as the most capable flagship in the world, Blue Ridge utilizes the most advanced communication satellite and computer technologies available.
“Blue Ridge has a superior and more robust communications system than any other type of ship by far,” said Blue Ridge Communications Officer Cmdr. Hezekiah Natta.
As the demands of the mission evolve over the years, so too must Blue Ridge. The ship is constantly updating its equipment to stay a step ahead of its competition.
“Last year we did a complete overhaul and upgraded our communications equipment to allow us to continue our mission well into the future,” said Natta.
In 2016 Blue Ridge is scheduled to install a brand new Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise System (CANES).
“CANES will provide the ship and her staff the capability to continue efficiently commanding and controlling all of 7th Fleet’s assets in her area of responsibility,” said Natta.