By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James R. Turner
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) returned to Naval Station Rota, Spain, April 14, 2019, and remains in a ready condition after a four-month patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Porter departed Rota Dec. 27, 2018, and began its sixth Forward-Deployed Naval Force (FDNF) patrol in support of regional allies and partners, and U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
"I'm very proud of this crew of Champions for a wildly successful patrol,” said Cmdr. Craig Trent, Porter's commanding officer. “We worked hard together as a team, flexed to overcome many obstacles, and accomplished the mission as a team. I'm excited for our return home and the opportunity it provides to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones."
While on patrol, Porter conducted missions in support of regional allies and partners and earned numerous qualifications and certifications in the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Baltic Sea. The certifications included Aviation Certification, Mobility Aviation, Mobility Damage Control, Submarine Warfare, Intelligence, Cryptologic Warfare, Electronic Warfare and Naval Surface Fire and Support.
During the patrol the ship moored in five countries to include; Turkey, Latvia, Demark, Scotland and England. While in port the crew hosted three luncheons and a reception in Denmark for over 100 local officials including the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, and Danish Lt. Gen. Max Nielson, the Danish vice chief of defense.
The crew gave back to the communities by volunteering in community relations by helping refurbish a house into a storage facility for animal food at one of Latvia's animal parks and refurbishing the ‘Maid of the Lock,’ the oldest steam powered paddle boat in the UK, while in Scotland.
At the midpoint of the patrol, Porter returned to Rota for a three-week training and maintenance availability (TRAV). This availability allowed Porter to do any necessary maintenance and continue to earn certifications while in port.
Following TRAV, Porter participated in Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) which originates from United Kingdom (UK) naval bases with the purpose of delivering operational training across all disciplines for the Royal Navy and other navies desiring to make use of its services.
“FOST represents the pinnacle for building cohesion and teamwork within a warship,” said Lt. j.g McKenzie Anderson, Porter’s training officer. “Porter's crew has learned to flex to new casualties, new reporting procedures, and new methods of communication between ships in a task group. Our ability to work with other NATO units highlights our ability to be anywhere, at any time, and work cohesively with any NATO ship to accomplish any mission.”
During FOST, Porter Sailors participated in loss of steering drills, man overboard exercises, six general quarters drills, one towing exercise, seamanship training team scenarios, gunnery exercises, damage control training, engineering training, a weekly war environment, and one moor to a buoy exercise, all in multiple training team environments to include combat scenarios.
After completing FOST, Porter participated in exercise Joint Warrior (JW) 19-1 along with the guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) and approximately 10,000 military personnel, 35 warships, five submarines, and 59 aircraft from 13 countries in the Northern Channel and North Sea, before turning its bow toward Rota and home.
Joint Warrior is a series of biannual exercises designed to provide NATO, allied, and partner forces with a unique multi-warfare environment in which to prepare for global operations.
Exercise JW 19-1 provided a full spectrum of real-life training opportunities for damage control. Participating ships encountered simulated damage, which produced interconnected causalities affecting other systems.
In total, Porter and its crew covered nearly 23,000 nautical miles burning 2,329,451 gallons conducting 123 damage control drills and expending approximately 3600 combined live rounds from the ship’s Mark 45 5-inch, close-in weapon system and 25mm guns. Porter served 131,752 meals to the crew and provided 1,615 haircuts. This patrol they also received 133 pallets of cargo and food provision and 3,000 lbs. of mail.
On April 14th, Porter returned to Naval Station Rota. With their loved ones waiting for them on the pier, the Sailors aboard Porter returned to Rota, but remained at the ready to answer the Nation’s call.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.