Friday, November 27, 2009
Capt. Rudy Lupton relieved Capt. Thom W. Burke as commanding officer of 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) at an official change of command ceremony held on board the ship. Burke served as commanding officer for 16 months, leading the ship and crew through several deployments, inspections and awards. During his tenure as commanding officer, Burke guided the ship through unit-level training assessments (ULTRA), earning five command excellence awards that culminated in the Battle Efficiency "E" award, several international cooperative exercises, and passing the supply management certification with the highest score in the Pacific Fleet. "The real credit of our success belongs to the Sailors," Burke said. "Their hard work allowed us to meet each milestone. They are all fine examples of our Navy and our country." Rear Adm. Richard B. Landolt, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, presented Burke with the Legion of Merit at the ceremony. "This award is not for me," Burke said. "It is for all of you in ranks who have made this command what it is. You are confident and committed defenders of our nation and this alliance. I can see it in you every day, and I applaud you."
Capt. Rudy LuptonLupton assumes command of Blue Ridge after serving as Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Director for Operational Plans and Joint Force Development, J-7, the Joint Staff. His previous tours include Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HCSS) 6, HCSS-3, and Executive Officer of USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). During his remarks, Lupton expressed his admiration for the crew he assumes command of. "To the crew of Blue Ridge, it is an honor and privilege for me to take command of this fine ship," Lupton said. "I look forward to serving you and serving with you in providing the very best support to the Fleet commander. I have no doubt that no matter the task, mission or circumstance, you will answer the call in a way befitting of the history, customs and traditions of our great Navy." Lupton assumes command as the 23rd commanding officer of the Blue Ridge since the ship's commissioning November 14, 1970. Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the flagship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. CTF 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.