YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Bill Moran and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith visited U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sept. 12 to meet with Sailors, discuss readiness in the area of responsibility (AOR) and tour the ship.
The visit highlighted the 7th Fleet-Blue Ridge team's efforts in the AOR and the importance of maintaining a sharp focus while continuing to be forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
“The work you do here is incredibly important,” said Moran who spoke with Sailors on a tour of the ship. “I’m excited to see the 7th Fleet-Blue Ridge team building their proficiency as they prepare to get back out to sea. This region poses one of the most complex and dynamic challenges for the Navy today and this team is ready for the task.”
During the trip, Moran and Smith took time to meet with senior leaders on both the officer and enlisted force, providing guidance on the current state of the Navy and how we can be better prepared for challenges in the area. Following the talks, the group toured the ship, including a visit to the bridge.
Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Brett Crozier said the visit emphasized to the crew the importance of the work they do every day within the forward-deployed environment, especially after a completing a more than two year shipboard modernization period.
"We’re always proud to show off the ship,” Crozier said. “We’re glad the VCNO and MCPON are able to see the ship after all the hard work the crew has put in to prepare us for a return to sea.”
While in Yokosuka, Moran and Smith not only visited Blue Ridge, but also spent time with Sailors from Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) and guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
As VCNO, Moran is the second-highest ranking officer in the Navy, assigned as the principal deputy of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), holding authority to act for the CNO in all matters not specifically reserved by law to the position. The MCPON serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy and as the advisor to the chief of naval operations and to the chief of naval personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families.
Blue Ridge is in a final upkeep and training phase in preparation to become fully mission capable for operations.