USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) successfully completed sea trails Nov. 16 and 17, following a 68-day selective restrictive availability (SRA) maintenance period.
During the two-day underway period, Blue Ridge Sailors cycled through a series of tests and drills to ensure the ship and crew are ready for sea.
Blue Ridge deck department participated in several evolutions designed to keep their seamanship skills sharp. They conducted line-handling evolutions, an anchorage exercise, and small boat training.
Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SW) Russell Townsend, deck department leading chief petty officer, said his Sailors did an excellent job during the underway period.
“We didn’t have to knock any rust off our Sailors,” Townsend said of their performance. “They were stripped down to bare metal with a coat of primer and paint applied,” he added. “I’m extremely proud of the way they performed.”
For some Blue Ridge Sailors, sea trials were their first experience at sea. Seaman Apprentice Thania Lopez wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I was really excited. It was a lot of fun,” Lopez said. “The people on board were really friendly and helpful.”
Deck wasn’t the only department to benefit from this underway period. The engineers had a chance to test a new monitoring system that will make their watch standing more efficient. Fuel, water and ballast tank fluid level indicators were replaced during SRA with radar type level indicators that can be monitored remotely and can automatically calculate usage rates, among other features.
“These new gauges make our job much easier. Now we are able to fill and empty tanks without having to take soundings,” said Machinist's Mate Fireman Trevor Northam. “Now the watch stander can view the levels remotely.”
Navigation division performed several evolutions, including a loss of steering drill, a loss of gyro drill, and navigating a mine field.
“This underway period gave us a chance to conduct the training we needed, as well as give everyone a little insight into what they will have to do when we get underway again,” said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Malcom Moses. “I think everyone performed an outstanding job. This was a good chance to get in some important training.”
Blue Ridge is commanded by Capt. Jeff Bartkoski and serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Bradley, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs
ABOARD USS BLUERIDGE, At Sea