By Ensign Samantha Thomas
The Arleigh-Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) hosted more than 100 guests for a friends and family day cruise that included tours of the ship, gun demonstrations, and a steel beach picnic, March 26.
The friends and family day cruise is a naval tradition that typically precedes or follows a ship’s deployment. It offers the crew a chance to involve its family members and special guests in the day-to-day operations of life as a Sailor, while also allowing them to spend quality time together.
The guest list was comprised of Sailors’ families, friends and personnel that have been instrumental to the ship’s success while stationed at Naval Station Rota, Spain. Employees of Naval Station Rota’s Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center, the United Service Operations, and the Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia, were among the embarked personnel.
Cmdr. John Tobin, commanding officer of Porter, welcomed friends and families aboard before getting underway. The one day underway allowed the guests the opportunity to see how the crew comes together while out to sea.
“It was a perfect day to take our family and friends out and show them what we do while at sea,” stated Tobin. “Many of them had never been underway before, and with the pivotal roles that they all play in our success, it was the best opportunity to show our thanks and support to them,” added Tobin.
Friends and family experienced firsthand how Porter Sailors carry out daily operations. The Sailors provided guests with guided tours facilitated by subject matter experts to explain their roles in operations, and guests participated in Damage Control Olympics, a timed firefighting competition which allowed them to experience how Sailors train to fight damage control emergencies aboard the ship.
The day’s events were an entire ship’s effort. The crew came together to host the live demonstrations, and the Supply Department served the entire crew and guests at a steel beach picnic and ice cream social prior to returning to port.
“I was blown away by how intricate and in-depth the destroyer systems were, and I was awed by the dedication of the Porter officers and Sailors,” said Sabrina Davis, wife of Lt. j.g. Alex Davis, the navigator aboard Porter. “I never knew how detailed the work had to be, and everyone—no matter the rank—plays such a pivotal role in making it happen. I have such a newfound respect for the whole crew, top to bottom.”
Porter is pierside as one of the forward-deployed naval force destroyers operating out of Naval Station Rota, Spain.