By Cmdr. Blair Guy
Commanding Officer, USS Porter (DDG 78)
The crew of USS Porter (DDG 78) is incredibly excited about our arrival in Rota, Spain. This is a day we have been counting down to for over two years and a historical moment in the life of our ship. Every Sailor has worked very hard to be at peak proficiency and to keep the ship in top material condition for sustained overseas operations.
As the third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be forward deployed to Spain, we are providing increased operational capacity to respond to global crises, cooperate with our allies, and achieve our country’s national defense policy goals. Every exercise and port visit we complete enhances international cooperation. Having a continued presence in the European theater assures our allies that we are committed to working with them in support of common goals.
The European theater is very dynamic. Forward deployed ships, immersed in this environment, are more efficient at operating here. Specifically, we are experienced at using common procedures to overcome cultural and language barriers and improve interoperability. As that comfort level grows, we develop a standardized way of interacting on the seas, where we can be clear about one another’s intentions and operations, promoting safety and security. Our presence here also allows us to pool resources with our allies to overcome the challenges that threaten freedom and security in the global commons.
For the crew, this opportunity will have lifelong benefits. From a professional perspective, the four-month patrol cycle results in a lot of training opportunities and keeps the crew at a high level of readiness year round. Plus, we will be pulling into a large number of foreign ports and operating with many of our allied navies, and the joint experience they gain will benefit them for the rest of their careers.
From a personal perspective, the crew has the opportunity to live in Spain, one of the Navy’s best overseas homeports, experience the local culture and have an unprecedented opportunity to travel.
It is an incredible honor for every Sailor aboard to have the opportunity to represent the United States overseas. We look forward to the journey ahead.