U.S. Navy/Petty Officer 1st Class Peter Burghart

As just one of the two dedicated command ships in the Navy’s operational fleet, the USS Blue Ridge has served the United States for nearly a half-century, from the Vietnam War to the growing tensions with North Korea. But according to a new report, the 7th Fleet flagship has cultivated a secondary mission in recent years as the party yacht at the heart of the Fat Leonard scandal that’s roiled the service.

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U.S. Navy photo/Scott A. Thornbloom

It was “perhaps the worst national-security breach of its kind to hit the Navy since the end of the Cold War, as the Washington Post put it: Leonard Glenn Francis, a 350-pound defense contractor, plied dozens of Navy and Marine personnel with prostitutes and cash to get sensitive info on their ships’ movements — info he used to snag port-service contracts and overbill the service to the tune of at least $35 million. 

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AP Photo/Heng Sinith

Leonard Glenn Francis, aka “Fat Leonard,” is at the center of a scandal that has plagued the Navy for years. Fat Leonard was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, a Singapore-based supplier of maritime services and naval logistics. GDMA is a husbanding agent, which manages such sundry services as arranging for tugs, docking, fuel, and supplies for the Navy when it visits a foreign port. Leonard was arrested in San Diego in November 2013.

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