USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Blue Ridge 2012.jpg
USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) in 2012
History
United States
Name: Blue Ridge
Namesake: Blue Ridge Mountains
Ordered: 31 December 1964
Builder: Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Laid down: 27 February 1967
Launched: 4 January 1969
Sponsored by: Mrs. Gretchen Thompson-Byrd
Commissioned: 14 November 1970[1]
Homeport: Yokosuka, Japan
Identification: LCC-19
Motto: Finest in the Fleet
Status: In active service
Badge: USS Blue Ridge LCC-19 Crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Blue Ridge-class command ship
Displacement: 19,609 tons
Length: 634 ft (193.2 m)[2]
Beam: 108 ft (32.9 m)
Draft: 28.9 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 boilers, 1 geared turbine
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h)
Range: 10,000 nmi (18,520 km)
Complement:
  • Crew: 52 officers, 790 enlisted
  • With command staff: 268 officers, 1,173 enlisted
Armament:
Aircraft carried: 2 × Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters
Aviation facilities: Flight deck

USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) is the first of the two Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ships of the United States Navy, and is the command ship/flagship of the Seventh Fleet. Its primary role is to provide command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) support to the commander and staff of the United States Seventh Fleet. It is currently forward-deployed to U.S. Navy Fleet Activities, Yokosuka in Japan, and is the third Navy ship named after the Blue Ridge Mountains, a range of mountains in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States. Blue Ridge is the oldest deployable warship of the U.S. Navy, following the decommissioning of USS Denver.[3] Blue Ridge, as the U.S. Navy's active commissioned ship having the longest total period as active, flies the First Navy Jack instead of the Jack of the United States.[4] Blue Ridge is expected to remain in service until 2039.[5][6][7]

History[edit]

Commissioning on 14 November 1970

USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) was put "in commission special" on 14 November 1970, at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as an Amphibious Command and Control (LCC) ship, with Captain Kent J. Carroll as the commanding officer. The ship was sponsored by Mrs. Gretchen Byrd, wife of the U. S. Senator from Virginia, Harry F. Byrd Jr.. The principal speaker at the ceremony was John W. Warner, Under Secretary of the Navy and later Senator from Virginia.[8]

Blue Ridge was the replacement for USS Estes, but Estes was decommissioned earlier than planned in October 1969 due to the budget cuts of the late 1960s.[9]

Blue Ridge was the first ship of her class and represented almost seven years of planning and construction work. The result was a ship specifically designed from the keel up as a command and control ship. As designed, Blue Ridge was capable of supporting the staff of both the Commander of an Amphibious Task Force and the staff of the Commanding General of the Landing Force. The advanced computer system, extensive communications package and modern surveillance and detection systems was molded into the most advanced joint amphibious command and control center ever constructed.[10]

Original specifications

At the time of her commissioning, Blue Ridge had the distinction of carrying the world's most sophisticated electronics suite. It was said to be some thirty percent larger than that of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, which had been the most complex. Blue Ridge was armed with a "main battery" of computers, communications gear, and other electronic facilities to fulfill her mission as a command ship. An extremely refined communications system was also an integral part of the ship's radical new design. Through an automated patch panel and computer controlled switching matrix her crew could use any combination of communication equipment desired. The clean topside area is the result of careful design intended to minimize the ship's interference with her own communications system.[11] US Navy long-range communications were heavily reliant on high frequency radio systems in the 1970s and have evolved to predominantly satellite communications in the 2000s. This is illustrated by the long wire antennas and the directional HF yagi or log-periodic antenna initially installed on Blue Ridge and later removed and replaced with a number of satellite communications antennas.

Besides small arms, Blue Ridge was armed with two twin Mark 33 3"/50 caliber guns at commissioning, though they have since been removed. It also carried two Mark 25 launchers and electronics for the Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS) which was added sometime in the 1970s and removed in the 1990s. Two 20 mm Phalanx CIWS systems were added in the 1980s for point defense. In recent years it has also carried 25 mm Bushmaster cannons.

1971[edit]

First INSURV, North Atlantic, January 1971

In late January 1971, the ship conducted its first INSURV in the North Atlantic, after transiting the Delaware River, from and return to Philadelphia.[12]

On 11 February 1971, Blue Ridge steamed on its maiden voyage from the shipyard to its first homeport, San Diego, California, around South America via the Strait of Magellan, making liberty calls at Norfolk, Virginia (15 February), Rio de Janeiro (4–6 March), Lima (20–22 March), Rodman Naval Station, Panama Canal Zone (27–28 March), and Acapulco (2–5 April).[8] Blue Ridge's beam is 108 feet (33 m), but the Panama Canal locks at that time were only 110 feet (34 m), creating problems for the Blue Ridge class of ship with fenders and barges for the sponsons.

As it crossed the equator on 26 February at 38 degrees and 24 minutes longitude, bound for Rio de Janeiro, Blue Ridge performed her first crossing the line ceremony, initiating the "wog" majority of the crew, except for one.[13]

Blue Ridge transiting the Strait of Magellan in March 1971

Upon entry to the Strait of Magellan, Blue Ridge took on a passage pilot from the Chilean Navy for the transit. The Chilean patrol boat lost its mast and damaged one of Blue Ridge's basket antennas, just aft of the port sponson, in the boarding operation.[14]

In Blue Ridge's transit from Lima to Rodman Naval Station, Panama, it was assigned the duty of going to the aid of any U.S. tuna fishing boat being harassed or captured by the Ecuadorian Navy because they were fishing in a claimed 200 miles (320 km) fishing zone that the U.S. did not recognize. It was known as the Tuna War, but no incident occurred.[15]

Arriving at San Diego on 9 April, "with Rear Admiral David M. Rubel, U. S. Navy, Commander Amphibious Group Three and staff embarked. Rear Admiral Rubel is the first Flag Officer embarked on Blue Ridge." Amphibious Group Three staff came aboard Blue Ridge at the Rodman port call with the next port call being Acapulco.[16]

The rest of the year was "highlighted by Command Post Exercises 3–7 May and 11–13 August. Refresher training was conducted in late June and early July. Blue Ridge acted as amphibious task force and landing force flagship for the major amphibious training exercise of the year, ROPEVAL WESTCO (3-71), from 8–16 September."[8]

Blue Ridge's first drydock since the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, "...from 11 October to 19 November it was in the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for Post Shakedown availability...". Blue Ridge's power plant was switched from Navy Standard Oil fuel to Navy Distillate fuel.[8][17]

From 1972 until 1979, Blue Ridge deployed to the Western Pacific on 6 WestPacs, as the flagship of the Commander Amphibious Force, Seventh Fleet.[18]

1972 WestPac I[edit]

After completing degaussing in the deperming facility at Ballast Point, on 7 January 1972, Blue Ridge left its home port of San Diego and steamed to Pearl Harbor for deployment on its first WestPac, with port visits at Guam, Sasebo, Japan, White Beach, Okinawa, Subic Bay, Hong Kong and Singapore.[19]

Making the next leg of the transit to WestPac, Guam, with USS Sterett and USS Mahan,[19] During the transit, four Soviet reconnaissance aircraft overflew the convoy to collect data on the new ship.[20]

As the ship crossed the equator on 27 February 1972 at 0°00′N 105°14′E / 0°N 105.24°E / 0; 105.24, bound for Singapore, Blue Ridge performed its second crossing the line ceremony.[19]

Additional port visits were planned, but in late March 1972, as Blue Ridge prepared at White Beach, Okinawa for exercise Golden Dragon, North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam across the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone {DMZ) on 30 March 1972 in their Easter Offensive. This was the largest invasion since the Korean War radically departing from previous offensives. It was designed to strengthen the North Vietnamese position as the Paris Peace Accords drew towards a conclusion.

April 1972[edit]

Admiral Gaddis on Blue Ridge

On 3 April 1972, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CinCPac) Admiral John S. McCain Jr. cancelled Exercise Golden Dragon. General Miller and the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade (9th MAB) staff were ordered to remain on Blue Ridge for combat or evacuation operations. The 9th MAB had various contingency plans from potentially conducting emergency evacuations to building up its forces.[21]

On 5 April 1972, Blue Ridge departed for the war zone, the Gulf of Tonkin. Blue Ridge was the command ship during April through July for the last major combat amphibious engagement of the Vietnam War. The Easter Counter-Offensive was "the largest concentration of wartime amphibious force since the Inchon and Wonsan landings of the Korean War."[19]

General Miller on Blue Ridge

Detachment "N" of the 1st Radio Battalion had deployed with the 9th MAB for the exercise in Korea. It was integrated with the Task Force 76 Joint Intelligence Center and operated from the supplemental radio spaces of Blue Ridge using input from the service cryptologic agencies in Southeast Asia. However, operating from Blue Ridge posed reception problems because of the distance from shore. From 24 April 1972, two or three direct support elements were in operation from naval gunfire ships at any one time, with control remaining at the headquarters element on Blue Ridge. In July 1972, they moved to USS Paul Revere and when Blue Ridge returned to the United States detachment analysts relocated to the Naval Communications Station, San Miguel, near San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines.[22] As CTU 76.0.1, escorted by USS John Paul Jones, Blue Ridge conducted special operations in the Tonkin Gulf in Operation Venture Road.[19]

June 1972[edit]

It was during the Lam Son Counter-Offensive, "29 June", (it was actually 27 June 1972), that Blue Ridge exchanged fire with coastal artillery batteries on Tiger Island earning the Combat Action Ribbon.

With a lull in the fighting and 64 days at sea, Blue Ridge made a port call to Subic, from 7 to 14 June, for supplies and sanity, then returned to the Gulf of Tonkin.[19]

President Nguyen Van Thieu visits Blue Ridge, 28 June 1972

Nguyen Van Thieu, president of South Vietnam, came aboard Blue Ridge on 28 June 1972 to confer with Vice Admiral Holloway, Admiral Gaddis, General Miller and "to convey his personal thanks to the sailors and Marines of the amphibious forces for 'the preservation of Peace and Freedom' in South Vietnam."[23]

On the first of July, while steaming outside of Da Nang Harbor, in the combat zone and the ship's port 3-inch gun manned, Blue Ridge had its first change of command. That day was also the day that Blue Ridge earned the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.[24][25]

The Easter Counter-Offensive was Blue Ridge's longest time at sea, 64 days from 5 April to 7 June 1972.[19] After 7 days in Subic, Blue Ridge returned to the Gulf of Tonkin until 18 July 1972 and was then ordered to the Philippines for typhoon relief along with Tripoli, Juneau, Alamo, and Cayuga. "The 33d MAU and subordinate units were awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for their efforts.", but Blue Ridge was not.[26]

On 18 August 1972, Blue Ridge returned to San Diego. In September it received aboard, CNO, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. and the Secretary of the Navy, John Warner for visits. From 5 thru 9 October, Blue Ridge made a port visit to San Francisco, training and a First Fleet sponsored event.[19]

1973 WestPac II[edit]

POW Homecoming

From 12 February 1973 until 4 April 1973, Operation Homecoming, returning POWs from Hanoi and VC camps in South Vietnam went to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. With Blue Ridge still in its homeport of San Diego, it contributed its current ship's intelligence officer, LCDR Mahoney, and prior ship's intelligence officer, LCDR Curley, to the operation. "The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines each had liaison officers dedicated to prepare for the return of American POWs well in advance of their actual return. These liaison officers worked behind the scenes traveling around the United States assuring the returnees well being. They also were responsible for debriefing POWs to discern relevant intelligence about MIAs and to discern the existence of war crimes committed against them."

On 24 February 1973, Blue Ridge left San Diego for Pearl Harbor (2–3 March) and its second WestPac, with liberty port visits of Sasebo (7–14 June), Yokosuka (25 July-5 Aug), White Beach (15–31 March, 11 April, 16 Aug, 4-19 Sept), Hong Kong (7–12 May), Subic (26 March-5 April, 22-26 Sept, 7-8 Oct), Manila, Singapore (24-29 Aug) and Chilung (1–5 June). Blue Ridge conducted training exercises: Operation Golden Dragon in early April off South Korea, Operation Pagasa I in middle May off Philippines, Operation Pagasa II in early October off Philippines.[27]

With Operation End Sweep progressing in the coastal waters of North Vietnam for the mines released there, Blue Ridge left White Beach again on 10 July 1973 headed for the Gulf of Tonkin. It carried equipment that was needed by U. S. helicopters that were involved in clearing mined North Vietnamese waters. Blue Ridge spent two nights in north Vietnamese waters off the coast of Vinh and Hon Matt before departing for Manila in the Philippines.[27]

Because of the problems associated with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, Blue Ridge, on its transit back to White Beach, Okinawa from its port call in Singapore, became the first Seventh Fleet combatant ship to refuel at sea with a commercial tanker, taking on some 158,000 gallons of Navy distillate from the Falcon Princess.[27]

Soviet AGI Kursograph.

Late in Blue Ridge's second WestPac, it was conducting a joint exercise with the Philippine Navy in the South China Sea called PAGASA II, as the command ship. One of Blue Ridge's ensigns went overboard unnoticed and when found absent for a watch muster, a compartment search was conducted aboard the ship for the missing officer. With failure to find him on 28 September 1973, a search and rescue operation commenced without success. Two days later the ensign was declared missing at sea and Exercise PAGASA II resumed. On Monday, 1 October 1973, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was notified that the Soviet trawler AGI Kursograph found an American sailor in Blue Ridge's operation area and the ensign was returned safely to Blue Ridge the next day after diplomatic negotiations.[27][28][29]

At the end of Pagasa II, bad tropical weather forced the transfer of the staff from Blue Ridge to Denver, after a very short stay in Subic Bay, to occur in White Beach instead, on 7 October. On 8 October, Blue Ridge steamed for its homeport San Diego carrying a Patrol Craft Fast on its helicopter deck. Blue Ridge arrived in San Diego 23 October [1973].[27]

1975 WestPac III[edit]

Refugees flee in anything that floats from the South Vietnam

Late in March 1975 and late in Blue Ridge's third WestPac, the deteriorating military and political situation in Cambodia and South Vietnam disrupted Blue Ridge's operational plans as had occurred in late March 1972.

USN ship disposition in WestPac at the beginning
Marines coming aboard Blue Ridge for Vietnam at White Beach, on 25 March 1975

Blue Ridge was at White Beach, Okinawa when the 9th MAB was alerted on 25 March 1975 for immediate departure to Da Nang to reinforce U.S. facilities, but Blue Ridge did not get underway for Vietnam until 27 March.[30] Marines and sailors hastily trained for crowd control, evacuation procedures, and a Vietnamese orientation course. The printing section on board the Blue Ridge reproduced thousands of signs in Vietnamese including a simplified instruction card for the small unit leader that included basic Vietnamese phrases and human relations oriented "do's and don'ts.[31] However North Vietnamese forces captured Da Nang on 29 March.

On 12 April, in response to the Cambodian government's crumbling defenses around the capital of Phnom Penh, Operation Eagle Pull evacuated 289 Americans, Cambodians and third country nationals by helicopter to the USS Okinawa.[32]

Marine staff meeting on Blue Ridge

After the end of the Battle of Xuân Lộc on 21 April, President Thieu resigned and fled into exile and North Vietnamese forces surrounded Saigon. The fixed wing evacuation from Tan Son Nhut Airport was halted by North Vietnamese artillery fire on the morning of 29 April and the helicopter evacuation Operation Frequent Wind commenced.[33] Admiral Gayler directed USSAG/Seventh Air Force and Seventh Fleet to begin Frequent Wind Option IV at 10:51 (Saigon time), but for some unexplainable reason, dissemination of this message to the participating units had been delayed from 10:52 until 12:15.[34] Evacuation helicopters finally departed with the first wave started landing at 15:06 and returning to fleet at 15:40 with the first load of evacuees.[35]

First choppers for Frequent Wind
Ships stationed off of Saigon, Operation Frequent Wind

The commanding officer of ProvMAG 39. Colonel McLenon, exercised control of his Marine aircraft through the Tactical Air Coordination Center (TACC) on board the Blue Ridge. The Helicopter Direction Center on board the Okinawa, maintained aircraft spacing and routing. The primary difference between TACC and HDC was that TACC controlled the tactical disposition of the helicopters and HDC controlled the helicopters as long as they were in the Navy's airspace. These areas of responsibility often overlapped and at times even merged. Under the conditions existing on the morning of 29 April 1975, the difference in control responsibilities of TACC and HDC at best seemed blurred, at worst redundant.[36] Coordination and control of the overall embarkation operation suffered from more serious communication problems. Direct communications with Admiral Whitmire and 9th MAB Rear were sporadic, at best, requiring a continuous relay by the C-130 Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center.[37]

Hitting the deck on Blue Ridge because of a helicopter collision during the evacuation of Saigon

The sky over the evacuation fleet was soon filled with Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) helicopters, looking for a place to land and unload their passengers.[38] Five helicopters crashed on the ship that day, not counting ones ditched or abandoned overboard. One crashed, causing a near disaster and showering the ship and personnel with debris.[39] An NBC film crew, with reporter George Lewis, filmed this unexpected arrival of RVNAF helicopters on the flight deck of Blue Ridge, showing the processing of the refugees and two helicopters' rotor blades colliding. To free up space on the flight deck, RVNAF helicopters were ditched by their pilots in the South China Sea after unloading their refugees on ship. Along with the widely-published photo of an RVNAF UH-1 Huey being pushed over the side of Blue Ridge, they filmed one unknown crew member being tossed into a flight deck safety net by the movement of the chopper going over the side.[40]

The evacuation continued until the morning of 30 April with the last helicopter evacuating the Marine Security Guards from the roof of the US Embassy at 07:53 and landing on USS Okinawa at 08:30.[41] At 11:30 North Vietnamese tanks smashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace less than 1 km from the Embassy and raised the flag of the Viet Cong over the building, ending the Vietnam War.

1980s[edit]

Blue Ridge rescues boat people from Vietnam, in the South China Sea, on 15 May 1984.

With the decommissioning of the 7th Fleet Flagship cruiser USS Oklahoma City in December 1979, Blue Ridge became the new flagship of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and has been forward deployed at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan ever since.

From 21 July 1979 through 30 June 1984, Blue Ridge and other ships in the West Pacific engaged in operation Boat People, receiving the Humanitarian Service Medal, rescuing refugees from Vietnam.[25] For example, on 6 October 1980 while transiting the South China Sea, Blue Ridge embarked Vietnamese refugees onboard from two separate small boats. The first being sighted before noon contained 54 total refugees. The second containing 37 were embarked onboard Blue Ridge shortly after 1800. Both boats were dangerously overloaded, and adrift when sighted. Of the 54 total refugees aboard the first boat, all were in good health, having been to sea only a few days. Of the 37 total refugees aboard the second boat, all were severely dehydrated, many so weak they could not stand, and had to be hoisted aboard Blue Ridge. Mechanical failure of the second boat had left the 37 adrift well short of the shipping lane. Initially it was unclear how long they had been at sea, though they had been without potable water for many days.[citation needed]

Also on 15 May 1984 Blue Ridge rescued 35 refugees in the South China Sea, 350 nautical miles (650 km) northeast of Cam Ranh Bay.[42]

In May 1989, Blue Ridge, Sterett and Rodney M. Davis visited Shanghai. They were the first US warships to enter Shanghai Harbor in 40 years and it was only the second visit by US warships to the People's Republic of China since 1949.[43]

1990s[edit]

Blue Ridge performed a nine-and-a-half–month deployment as flagship for commander, United States Naval Forces Central Command (ComUSNavCent), during Operations Desert Shield, and Desert Storm from 28 August 1990 through 24 April 1991, receiving a Navy Unit Commendation.[25][44]

In July 1996, Blue Ridge visited Vladivostok for the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Navy.[45][46]

2000s[edit]

Blue Ridge participated in the international force East Timor (INTERFET) in February of 2000. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Blue_Ridge_in_East_Timor.jpg

USS Blue Ridge steams within sight of Japan's Mount Fuji as she heads for port at the end of a six-week Spring Swing tour, Shimizu, Japan (May 2008).

Blue Ridge participates routinely in U.S. and allied training exercises each year with countries throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. For example, in 2009 Blue Ridge participated in ANNUALEX 21G (Annual Exercise 21G) with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and PASSEX (Passing Exercise) with the French Navy.[47]

2010s[edit]

The "First Navy Jack"; Blue Ridge flies it in place of the U.S. naval jack as it is the oldest actively commissioned warship in U.S. service.

Blue Ridge was one of several participating in disaster relief in Operation Tomodachi, after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[48] Blue Ridge brought relief supplies from Singapore to Japan but remained in the vicinity of Okinawa where the embarked U.S. Seventh Fleet staff provided command and control for the duration of Operation Tomodachi. The Seventh Fleet Band disembarked from the Blue Ridge in order to provide the Japanese public with concerts dedicated to the victims of the tsunami.[49]

The ship is expected to remain in service until 2039.[50][5]

Awards[edit]

A January 2012 photo of the medals displayed by USS Blue Ridge.

On 18 July 1972, USS Blue Ridge was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon for her action at Tiger Island, and on 9 August 1972, the ship was awarded the Battle "E" by the commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.[19] It was the only one Blue Ridge received prior to substantial changes made to the award in 1976 and is not listed as a Navy "E" Ribbon on the unit awards page. Blue Ridge received 15 Navy "E" Ribbon awards from 1977 to 2010.[25]

Blue Ridge was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and has two campaign stars one for Consolidation II '72 Campaign and the second for Vietnam Ceasefire '72 Campaign (Easter Counter-Offensive) with a total of 99 days in the combat zone, not counting 18 uncredited days in July 1972.[19][25][51][52] Blue Ridge may have earned the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal for six months of service off South Vietnam from February to July 1972 as listed by NavSource.org.[53] However, The Navy Unit awards page does not mention the award[25] and the ship's crew did not paint the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal on the ship's bridge wing in 1993 or 2011.[54]

Operation Eagle Pull (11–13 April 1975), the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, Blue Ridge was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal. [25]

Operation Frequent Wind (29–30 April 1975), the evacuation of Saigon, South Vietnam, Blue Ridge was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal. [25][55]

Blue Ridge received Humanitarian Service Medals for two different operations in 1980 and 1984 for rescuing Vietnamese boat people.[25]

Blue Ridge received her second Navy Unit Commendation along with the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) and Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) for Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The ship was also awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award[citation needed] and the Humanitarian Service Medal during Operation Tomodachi.[25]

Blue Ridge earned the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award several times, including 2010.[56]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Blue Ridge". Naval Vessel Register.
  2. ^ "Amphibious Command Ships – LCC". US Navy. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  3. ^ Peterson, LTJG Jonathan K. (13 August 2014). "USS Denver to Decommission after 46 Years of Service". US Navy. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  4. ^ Sanders, MC3 Kelby (15 August 2014). "Blue Ridge Now 2nd Oldest Behind Constitution". USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Facebook page. US Navy. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b Ziezulewicz, Geoff (23 September 2011). "2 Navy ships getting new lease on life courtesy of budget concerns". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  6. ^ "USS Blue Ridge Crew Completes Light-Off Assessment, Ignites Boilers". Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  7. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20190226121307/https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/messages/Documents/NAVADMINS/NAV2019/NAV19039.txt
  8. ^ a b c d "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1970" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Estes History". ussestes.org. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  10. ^ Welcome Aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) 1971 file 02 of 10
  11. ^ Welcome Aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) 1971 file 05 of 10
  12. ^ Blue Ridge First Insurv in Philly Shipyard BEACON Pub page 1 of 2
  13. ^ Blue Ridge CROSSING THE LINE 1971 Certificate.
  14. ^ USS Blue Ridge Cruise 1971. 1971. p. 48.
  15. ^ "Cascon Case EUS: Ecuador-USA 1963-75". Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  16. ^ Welcome Aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) 1971 page 06 of 10
  17. ^ Blue Ridge UP DATE 1972-01 file 03 of 09
  18. ^ "Command History Reports: '72, '73, '74-'75, '76-'77, '77. '78". Archived from the original on 20 July 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1972" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  20. ^ Blue Ridge UP DATE 1972-01 file 07 of 09
  21. ^ Melson 1991 p. 138, 142, 142-143.
  22. ^ Melson 1991 p. 201.
  23. ^ Melson 1991 p. 150.
  24. ^ Blue Ridge UP DATE 1972-07 file 03 of 09
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The official U.S. Navy awards site". US Navy. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  26. ^ Melson 1991 p. 149-151.
  27. ^ a b c d e "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1973" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  28. ^ "San Diego Ensign Rescued at Sea by Soviet Trawler". Valley News. Van Nuys. 4 October 1973.
  29. ^ "List of Americans, British, and French military personnel detained by organs of the Ministry of State Security". loc.gov. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  30. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 85.
  31. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 88-89.
  32. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 119.
  33. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 168-170.
  34. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 183.
  35. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 189.
  36. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 188.
  37. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 pp. 191-192.
  38. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 184
  39. ^ "Memories of the Fall of Saigon". CBS News. 25 April 2001. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  40. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  41. ^ Dunham; Quinlan 1990 p. 200.
  42. ^ "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1984" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  43. ^ UPI (20 May 1989). "US Warships Making Port Call in China for First Time in 40 Years". Daily Herald. Tyrone, Pennsylvania.
  44. ^ "Our Ship". USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  45. ^ Associated Press (30 July 1996). "Blue Ridge joins Russian Navy Celebration". Pacific Stars And Stripes.
  46. ^ "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1996" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  47. ^ "Blue Ridge Wraps Up Fall Deployment". Navy News Service. 19 November 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  48. ^ Rabiroff, John (17 March 2011). "U.S. military delivers 40 tons of supplies to hardest-hit areas". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  49. ^ "7th Fleet Relief Support Update". Military Sealift Command Public Affairs. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  50. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (31 May 2011). "Revised U.S. Fleet Plan Extends Some Ships to 70 Years". Defense News.
  51. ^ Melson 1991 p. 151.
  52. ^ Blue Ridge UP DATE for June/July '72.
  53. ^ "USS Blue Ridge". Navsource.org. Archived from the original on 15 March 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  54. ^ June 2011 USS Blue Ridge medals cropped from this photo. and USS Blue Ridge medals in May 1993 cropped from this photo.
  55. ^ "USS Blue Ridge Ship History for 1975" (PDF). Naval History & Heritage Command. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  56. ^ SECNAV Announces Outstanding Food Service Winners Archived 27 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. 2010.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
USS Denver (LPD-9)
Oldest active combat ship of the United States Navy
2014–
Succeeded by
Incumbent