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U.S. 7th Fleet Reembarks USS Blue Ridge

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS040927-04
Release Date: 9/27/2004 11:16:00 AM

From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert officially reembarked his flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), during a brief change-of-flagship ceremony here Sept. 27.

Since April 1, the U.S. 7th Fleet staff has been operating from USS Coronado (AGF 11), which arrived in Yokosuka from Point Loma, Calif., March 24 to serve as the temporary flagship.

Standing on the Coronado quarterdeck, Greenert formally ordered the ship's commanding officer, Capt. Christopher Noble, to haul down his flag.

"Signalman, haul down Vice Adm. Greenert's flag," ordered Noble.

The U.S. 7th Fleet Band played on the pier below as the ship's signalmen lowered Greenert's flag, which had indicated the embarkation of a senior officer aboard a particular vessel. Noble presented the flag to Greenert.

Passing through two columns of Sailors known as side boys, Greenert marched across the pier to the waiting Blue Ridge.

Piped aboard the newly refurbished command ship, Greenert informed Blue Ridge commanding officer Capt. J. Stephen Maynard that he was ready to embark his ship.

"Signalman, break Vice Adm. Greenert's flag," ordered Maynard.

The band stroked up another round of "Ruffles and Flourishes" as Greenert's flag rose sharply atop the main mast.

During its nearly six-month stint as the flagship for the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, Coronado visited Subic Bay, Philippines; Shimoda, Japan; and Chinhae, Republic of Korea. The ship assumed the high visibility role required of the flagship, hosting receptions for Philippine officials in Subic Bay and in Yokosuka supporting the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, a Secretary of Defense program to introduce various opinion leaders to U.S. military operations. The ship also played host to a variety of routine exercises.

Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with 40-50 ships, 120 aircraft and approximately 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

Of the ships typically assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet, 21 operate from U.S. facilities in Japan and Guam. These forward-deployed units are the heart of U.S. 7th Fleet and provide a permanent, ready and highly capable presence, while reducing transit times and support costs by operating from overseas bases.

Other ships are deployed on a rotating basis from Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

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