The USS Blue Ridge, the oldest operational warship in the U.S. Navy, returned to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan on August 17, 2023, after completing its first full patrol of the Indo-Pacific region since 2019. The flagship of the U.S. 7th Fleet, the Blue Ridge spent 40 days at sea, covering 8,840 nautical miles through the Philippine and South China seas. It made port calls in Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines during its patrol.
The Blue Ridge serves as a peacetime emissary and platform for humanitarian efforts in the region, as well as the command-and-control ship for fleet operations. The vessel’s crew was excited to be back on one of its core missions after several years. The patrol was considered important due to the unique opportunities for interactions with countries in the vast region.
During the patrol, Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, the commander of the 7th Fleet, and his staff met with U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Y. Kim and high-ranking members of the Indonesian navy in Jakarta. They also held meetings with key dignitaries in Brunei and the Philippines.
Before this patrol, the Blue Ridge last completed a full patrol more than four years ago. It had been docked at Yokosuka for repairs and upgrades since then. The ship departed for routine operations in April 2023 after completing necessary maintenance work. With its return, the Blue Ridge is scheduled to remain in active service until 2039.