By Lt. j. g. Brinn Hefron, USS Porter Public Affairs Officer
ROTA, Spain (Dec. 10, 2021) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) returned to Rota, Spain, after completing its 10th Forward-Deployed Naval Forces Europe (FDNF-E) patrol in the U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT) area of operations, Dec. 10.
During the patrol, Porter sailed throughout the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea and Atlantic Ocean, frequently working alongside allies and partners for exercises and operations.
“We were successful in our mission,” said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, commanding officer of Porter. “The Porter team effectively worked with NATO allies and partners to maintain regional stability and maritime security throughout the Sixth Fleet area of operations.”
Porter began its patrol by participating in Fleet Operational at Sea Training (FOST) off the coast of Plymouth, England from Sept. 13 – Sept. 30. FOST was a three-week training and NATO certification event which involved all facets of shipboard operations, including advanced warfighting tactics. The warfighting environments progressed from a single threat to a multi-threat scenario, challenging all crew members with realistic, storylines of defending Porter and upholding a trade embargo.
Following FOST, Porter returned to Rota for a port visit and a change of command ceremony, Oct. 8. Cmdr. Christopher Petro assumed command of Porter from Cmdr. Thomas Ralston.
The ship then departed Rota, Oct. 10, to participate in two multilateral exercises with allies and partners. Porter joined Italy’s Mare Aperto exercise from Oct. 21-23 in the Tyrrhenian Sea alongside the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) and U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Commander, Task Force 67.
Two weeks later, the ship entered Souda Bay, Greece for a scheduled port visit before heading to the Aegean Sea to operate with the German, Italian and Romanian ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 2.
Porter entered the Black Sea, Oct. 30, and was joined soon after by the SIXTHFLT command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and Henry J. Kaiser-class replenishment ship USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 189). While in the Black Sea, all three ships conducted a series of passing exercises (PASSEX) with ships from Black Sea allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. While in the Black Sea, Porter conducted port visits in Batumi, Georgia and Constanta, Romania.
Porter departed the Black Sea and entered Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 16, for a scheduled port visit. While in Istanbul, the ship’s crew had the opportunity to participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) coordinated tours and events to learn about the history and experience the city’s rich culture.
After departing Istanbul, the ship and its crew prepared for another challenging and rewarding high-end exercise opportunity with a NATO ally. Porter, along with Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft and John Lenthall, participated in the French multilateral maritime exercise Polaris 21 in the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 24 to Dec. 2. Polaris was a multilateral, cross-domain exercise involving 6,000 personnel, 65 aircraft and more than 20 ships from across the NATO alliance. The exercise combined warfighting tactics with communications and maneuvering exercises and demonstrated the capability and cohesion of the alliance.
After completing participation in Polaris, Porter visited Marseille, France for a scheduled port visit from Dec. 5-8, before returning to Rota and marking the end of a highly successful patrol, Dec 10.
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 FDNF-E 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.