The Navy's Most Important Party Yacht Is Almost Ready For Its Next Adventure

Bullet Points

The USS Blue Ridge — the oldest deployable warship in the U.S. Navy and the apparent epicenter of the Fat Leonard scandal that's roiled the service — is preparing to hit the high seas this summer after almost two years of extended maintenance and upkeep, Stars and Stripes reports.

  • The brains of the fleet: Just one of two Blue Ridge-class command ships, the vessel is a  critical node for the indispensable 7th Fleet that's been roiled by surface mishaps and years of high operational tempo in response to Chinese and North Korean activity.
  • A legacy in the making ... “It has been 23 months since we started this [maintenance period], making it the longest in Blue Ridge’s history,” Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship’s skipper, said in the statement. “But it was essential, as we extended the life of the ship another 20 years, meaning this will one day be a 70-year-old ship.”

  • ... but a reputation to address: The Washington Post reported in January that 15 of the 30 individuals subject to civilian charges for their connection to Singapore-based business magnate and Glenn Defense Marine Asia owner ”Fat” Leonard Francis, 16 were assigned to the Blue Ridge, making the vessel “perhaps the most widely compromised U.S. military headquarters of the modern era."
  • And that's (probably) the tip of the iceberg: As recently as this month, Australian Navy officer Lt. Cmdr. Alex Gillet was reportedly ensnared in the Fat Leonard scandal while performing his duties as liaison to the 7th Fleet aboard the Blue Ridge, enjoying luxurious meals, prostitutes, and stays in hotels on Francis' dime.

We wish Capt. Cozier well in his efforts to keep the Blue Ridge both operational and reliable over the next two decades in light of the scandal, as do plenty of other T&P; readers who expressed dismay over the initial Washington Post report back in January. But let's be real, it's not like we'll ever know if he makes headway or not: As of May 2, the Navy will no longer publically disclose the names of commanders removed from their posts for misconduct, Fat Leonard-related or otherwise. Hooray transparency!

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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