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USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19)
BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19) represents a unique effort and achievement in the Navy’s Command and Control ship design and represents the accumulated knowledge of four decades of the Navy’s experience in meeting difficult challenges of Control and Coordination.
BLUE RIDGE uses her main battery of computers, communications equipment and other electronic facilities to fulfill her mission as Command Ship for the United States Seventh Fleet. These systems are also instrumental in her secondary functions as command ship for the Amphibious Task Force and Landing Force Commanders during all phases of fleetwide operations, as well as a Commander Joint Task Force (CJTF) flagship when national interests require.
The BLUE RIDGE is the most capable command ship ever built, with an extremely sophisticated Command and Control system. The Global Command and Control System (Maritime) consists of numerous high powered computers distributed throughout the ship from which information and data from world-wide sources are entered into a central database. This single integrated database concentrates the availale information into a complete tactical picture of air, surface and subsurface contacts, enabling the Fleet Commander to quickly assess and concentrate on any situation which might arise. With a state of the art commercial and military satellite capability, coupled with the ability to track land, sea, and air movements throughout the region, BLUE RIDGE is among the most technologically advanced ships in the world.
The clean topside area is the result of careful design intended to keep the ship`s interference to her own communications systems at a minimum. She is a great improvement in ship design, not only in speed, but also in habitability. Fitness rooms, air conditioning, ship`s stores, spacious galleys and messing areas all help make life at sea a great deal more pleasant for the crew and embarked staffs. BLUE RIDGE has accommodations for over 250 officers, 1,200 enlisted men and 100 enlisted females.
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.