US 7th Fleet Flagship Welcomes Acclaimed Mountain Climber
180520-N-NO824-0001 MT. EVEREST, Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (May 20, 2018) Matt Moniz, Mike Moniz, and guide pose for a photo on the summit of Mount Everest with a U.S. 7th Fleet flag. Photo courtesy of the Moniz family. (Photo by courtesy of the Moniz family)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The crew of U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) welcomed aboard explorer and mountaineer Matt Moniz, June 12.

Moniz, 20, made the stop aboard Blue Ridge after summiting Mt. Everest on May 20 where he flew the 7th Fleet flag at the peak, the highest point on earth.

Moniz returned the flag to 7th Fleet headquarters and took the time to learn more about the U.S. Navy while in Yokosuka.

"It's really fascinating and pretty incredible to see just how a Navy ship operates," said Moniz. "I'm blown away by how awe-inspiring it is, and it's amazing to see how much hard work it requires."

In 2010, Moniz was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic Magazine after summiting the highest points in each of the 50 states in only 43 days - all at the age of 12. The 43-day period was historic, as it represented the fastest period of time that achievement had ever been accomplished, a record he shares with his father Michael Moniz.

In April 2015, while Moniz and his climbing team were heading to climb Mt. Everest, an earthquake caused a destructive avalanche that hit Everest Base Camp. Moniz took cover behind a boulder, which ultimately saved his life. He immediately began helping the wounded and assisting in other rescue efforts, which earned him the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, the Boy Scouts of America's highest award for lifesaving.

Moniz obtained the Seventh Fleet flag from a friend on the staff.

"I was more than happy to bring the flag with me for the climb," said Moniz. "I've always had an appreciation and interest in the military, and I haven't completely ruled it out for myself yet."

To that end, Moniz spent an hour on the ship, spending time learning about Sailor life on the crew mess decks and barbershop. He also took time to see the ship's main deck and bridge, where he said he was impressed with the teamwork it takes to get a ship underway.

"I was not aware of the sheer number of people involved with making a ship maneuver even a slight bit," he said. "Overall, it's amazing the responsibility everyone has, from steering a ship to being able to fight fires."

Moniz, who is currently a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, expressed an interest in serving in the U.S. military after graduating.

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-Pacific Region.

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