Sydney was abuzz on Saturday, 13 July with the arrival of United States Navy, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) docking at Garden Island, Sydney for a port visit.
The command ship of the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet, the Blue Ridge with her 52 officers and 790 enlisted personnel, arrived in Sydney ahead of her scheduled participation in the biannual US Australia joint military exercise, TALISMAN SABER 2013.
While in town, US 7th Fleet personnel will undertake a number of community relations events with area schools and hospitals.
Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Scott Swift said the visit shows the Australian and U.S alliance remains strong.
“The Australian/U.S. alliance is as strong as ever and remains one of the most important in the world. I am encouraged by what our nations accomplish together every day. Our visits and exercise reaffirm that we are aligned in our view that a strong relationship between our militaries and countries is essential for maintaining maritime security throughout the region.”
Commander Surface Forces, Commodore Jonathan Mead, said the Blue Ridge visit is a taste of things to come, with the first of the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Helicopter Dock scheduled to arrive later this year.
“Displacing at close to 20,000 tonnes, measuring 30 meters wide and almost as long as two football fields, the Blue Ridge is only slightly smaller than NUSHIP Canberra,” said Commodore Mead.
“Our Landing Helicopter Docks come in at an impressive 230 meters, displace close to 28,000 tonnes when unloaded and the flight deck stands 27 meters above the water line.”
“It’s great to welcome our American friends to Sydney,” said Commodore Mead.
The USS Blue Ridge is a command and control ship and is forward deployed to Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan. 2013 marks the 70th Anniversary of the 7th Fleet – which was originally established in Brisbane in 1943.
Press Release, July 16, 2013; Image: Australian Navy