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By Lt. j. g. Brinn Hefron, USS Porter Public Affairs
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) entered the Black Sea on a routine patrol, Oct. 30, 2021.
U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) provided air support to Porter with a formation of F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. Additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft also supported the mission, including U.S. Air Force units and a P-8A Poseidon from U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR)’s Commander, Task Force 67.
Integration between NAVEUR and USAFE-AFAFRICA supports Operation Castle Forge, a USAFE-AFAFRICA-led joint, multinational training event that demonstrates Agile Combat Employment. Castle Forge highlights the joint force’s combined ability to respond with a flexible, reassuring presence when called upon.
Porter will operate alongside NATO allies and partners in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, working together to ensure security and stability in the region while integrating with allied and partner surface and air forces. Maritime exercises and operations like this demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the Alliance and to the collective defense of Europe.
“The crew of USS Porter looks forward to entering the Black Sea to maintain safety and stability throughout the region,” said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, commanding officer of Porter. “Our ability to work alongside our NATO allies and partners enhances our collective readiness and overall maritime security.”
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea to work with our NATO allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. The teamwork reinforces the U.S. and NATO’s commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters for all nations in the Black Sea.
Porter will participate in several multilateral exercises while in the Black Sea to refine ship-handling and maneuvering and practice air defense procedures.
“The power of alliances at sea is the ability to quickly bring together forces from many nations and aggregate naval power at the time and place of our choosing.” said Capt. Kyle Gantt, Commander, Task Force 65. “These operations in the Black Sea demonstrate the commitment to interoperability among NATO allies and partners.”
Porter recently completed Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST), Sept. 30, 2021, in Plymouth, England. FOST was a three-week training and NATO certifying event involving all facets of ship operations, including advanced warfighting tactics, firing 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.
Porter, forward deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
Porter is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.
U.S. Sixth 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.