When we talk about the U.S. Navy providing on-call, scalable options to address challenges in a changing world, the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria, April 7, is an example of that.
President Donald J. Trump ordered the targeted military strike on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the chemical attack on Syria’s Idlib province was launched.
“Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians,” Trump said in a statement to the nation. “Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
The missiles were launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Adm. Michelle Howard is the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa – where the ships are conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
“Last night, two of our forward-deployed ships, the USS Porter and the USS Ross, conducted strikes into Syria. This was in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. I just want to say that the commanding officers of both those ships, Russ Caldwell and Andria Slough, performed magnificently, along with their crews. What is also important is that this was a cross-combatant commander mission, and that the integration of the operations cells and all of the teams supporting from the planning to the execution was just flawless. It’s an example of the strength of the United States Navy and our ability to project power around the globe.”
Both USS Porter and USS Ross are guided-missile destroyers – multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.
Below are 13 things that you should know about USS Porter and USS Ross, which are both forward-deployed to Rota, Spain.
- USS Porter was commissioned in 1999 at Port Canaveral, Florida.
- In March 2017, Porter participated in the multilateral NATO Allied Maritime Command anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 with naval forces from France, Norway, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Greece, Italy and the U.K.
- In February 2017, USS Porter participated in exercise Sea Shield 2017. Sea Shield is an annual Romanian-led multinational exercise in the Black Sea to improve interoperability and proficiency of participating units.
- Porter is a Ballistic Missile Defense capable Aegis ship operating as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.
- USS Porter’s commanding officer is Cmdr. Andria Slough, a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Her personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Pacific Fleet Shiphandler of the Year and the Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley Leadership Award.
- The ship’s motto is “Freedom’s Champion.”
- USS Ross was commissioned in 1997 at Galveston, Texas.
- Ross’ weapons include surface-to-air missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, antisubmarine rockets, torpedoes, Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems and a five-inch rapid-fire deck gun. Electronic warfare countermeasures, decoys, and passive detection systems supplement these weapons.
- Ross is a Ballistic Missile Defense capable Aegis ship operating as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense.
- On March 30, 2017, USS Ross completed the final live fire tests of the newly installed SeaRAM systems, successfully intercepting U.S. Navy targets launched from Spain’s test range in the Gulf of Cadiz.
- Since its arrival at Rota in 2014, Ross has been actively involved in Operation Atlantic Resolve working with U.S. partners and allies to achieve objectives in the Sixth Fleet area of operations.
- USS Ross’ commanding officer is Cmdr. Russell Caldwell from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a graduate of the University of Kansas. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).
- The ship’s motto is “Fortune Favors Valor.”