Sailors man the rails as USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) returns to Yokosuka, June 24. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Matt Hall)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) returned to Yokosuka, June 24, to begin scheduled maintenance after a five-month patrol throughout the Indo-Pacific.

During this patrol, Blue Ridge enhanced relationships with allies and partners and conducted operations with the America Expeditionary Strike Group, Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and USS Asheville (SSN 758).

“Over the past five months Blue Ridge’s crew and embarked 7th Fleet Staff have shown outstanding resiliency and teamwork," said Capt. Craig Sicola, Blue Ridge’s commanding officer. "We have taken this extended time at sea to further our training, enhance our underway capabilities, and increase qualifications in preparation for the next underway period.

“COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but we have remained fully operational and continued to solidify our ties with our host nation of Japan and partnered allies throughout the region.”

Blue Ridge, the flagship for U.S. 7th Fleet, is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and is responsible for fostering relationships within the Indo-Pacific region.

USS Asheville (SSN 758) transits alongside USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) during a submarine familiarization (SUBFAM) training event in the Philippine Sea, June 24. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Adam K. Thomas)

USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) sails in formation with ships from the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and America Expeditionary Strike Group while operating together in the Philippine Sea, March 24. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Dylan McKay)

USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) steams through the Philippine Sea during operations with the America Expeditionary Strike Group, Jan. 29. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Chris Krucke)