US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) departed its forward-deployed homeport of Naval Station Rota, Spain, on Sept. 28, 2022, marking the end of seven years of operations in the European theater.
Porter has been stationed in Rota as a Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) destroyer, initially joining USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Ross (DDG 71) on April 30, 2015.
The ship was the third FDNF-E destroyer assigned to Destroyer Squadron 60 and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 65, which operates under command and control of US Sixth Fleet in the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations.
Porter will be replaced on the FDNF-E force by USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), the latest destroyer to arrive to Rota. USS Bulkeley was commissioned in December of 2001, and is named for Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley.
With Porter’s departure, all four ships originally assigned to CTF 65 have been replaced. With all homeport shifts now completed, the new FDNF-E ships are the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), and the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84).
The initial plan was to gradually replace the four older destroyers and ass a new helicopter squadron, however, the White House decided earlier this year it would increase the number of destroyers based in Spain to six.
“Porter’s time in Sixth Fleet was an invaluable experience for all. The crew and I depart Rota, Spain at the highest state of readiness thanks to the many operations and exercises conducted with our NATO allies and partners,” said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, Porter’s commanding officer. “We are extremely grateful for personal and professional development provided by the opportunities and challenges encountered as a member of Forward Deployed Naval Forces Europe.”
Porter conducted 11 patrols in the US Sixth Fleet area of operations, finishing her most recent patrol in July 2022. Throughout these patrols, Porter sailed through the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea and High North. The ship has also crossed the Atlantic three times, building interoperability with NATO allies and partners throughout the region.
Porter worked with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and the French Charles de Gaulle Carrier Strike Groups, although most of its time underway was independently deployed. Porter’s patrols focused on a wide variety of mission areas, including surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, and strike warfare, dedicated to ensuring interoperability with US allies and offering a stable presence in the region.
During its seven years with the FDNF-E force, Porter participated in many joint operations with allies and other branches of service. Some of the notable exercises the ship participated in include FOST, BALTOPS, Atlas Handshake, Joint Warrior, Sea Breeze, Polaris, and Atlantic Resolve.
In April 2017, Porter launched 59 Tomahawk missiles into Al-Shayrat Air Base, Syria, in coordination with USS Ross (DDG 71), in response to the Syrian government’s chemical attacks on civilians during the Syrian civil war.
USS Porter is scheduled to return to its former homeport of Norfolk, Va., and will now continue to serve through an assignment to Destroyer Squadron 22.