By Lt. j.g. Brinn Hefron USS Porter Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) completed Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST), Sept. 30, 2021.
FOST was a three-week long training and NATO certifying event that involved all facets of the ship including advanced warfighting tactics, firing all weapons systems during gunnery exercises and seamanship and maneuvering exercises. The warfighting environments progressed from single threat to multi-threat scenarios each week, including a weekly war scenario.
During the weekly war scenario, Porter and her crew held general quarter’s drills, following a storyline of shipboard attacks from enemy forces. The events ranged from maintaining the status quo of the area, to defending Porter against enemy threats and upholding a trade embargo.
“Clearly, with our NATO Allies, we have to be interoperable with each other, so working together and training with them, we can share both our own lessons from our own operational experience but also gain lessons from our partner nations that we can then also use in our own Royal Navy ships,” said Lt. Cmdr.. Hugh Gaskell-Taylor, SWO-E2 to FOST, Royal Navy. “It’s been great with the USS Porter, they’ve been really keen and proactive, and they have approached training well. We’ve learned a lot from them and hopefully they’ve learned quite a lot from us.”
Throughout the three-week exercise, Porter displayed seamanship and maneuvering skills such as mooring to a buoy, towing, man overboard drills, engineering casualty procedures, and torpedo evasion maneuvering.
“Working with the Royal Navy has been exceptional; they’re professionals in all respects. They’ve flexed us, especially on our understanding of NATO procedures and working with other NATO countries, and that has been the most rewarding piece for the crew,” said Cmdr. Joseph Hamilton, executive officer of Porter. “FOST is important because it shows that, as the US Navy, we can’t go it alone. We need our NATO partners as well to protect freedom on the Seas, so practicing together makes perfect together.”
Porter was assessed by FOST inspectors and the U.S. Navy’s Afloat Training Group (ATG), Norfolk on multiple certifying events. The mission of ATG is to provide dynamic, quality afloat training to Sailors to ensure a combat-ready force capable of performing a broad spectrum of maritime missions.
“FOST was an incredible opportunity for Porter’s crew to train and learn from the U.K. Royal Navy,” said Cmdr. Thomas Ralston, commanding officer of Porter. “FOST improved our joint operational proficiency with a critical ally and our shared commitment to transatlantic and global maritime security. I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work all Porter’s Sailors put in to making this a successful training exercise.”
FOST is headquartered at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport in the United Kingdom and delivers operational training for surface ships, submarines, Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and Strike Groups of the Royal Navy and other NATO affiliated navies.
Porter, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is on its tenth patrol in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S national security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.