The guided-missile destroyer Porter bid a permanent farewell to Rota, Spain, on Sept. 28, as it headed back to a U.S. homeport after seven years of forward-deployed service in Europe.
As Porter heads to Norfolk, Virginia, it is being replaced by fellow destroyer Bulkeley, finalizing a swap of the four destroyers based at Rota that began in 2020.
In addition to Bulkeley, the new slate of Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships includes Arleigh Burke, Roosevelt and Paul Ignatius.
Porter’s departure comes as plans remain in the works to add two additional destroyers to Rota as part of an initiative announced by the White House this summer.
Officials with the Italy-based U.S. 6th Fleet told Navy Times in July that those extra warships won’t arrive in Rota until at least fiscal 2024, and the Navy has not named the ships that will be based there.
Porter conducted 11 patrols during its seven years in Europe, steaming from the Mediterranean Sea up to the “High North,” according to a Navy release.
During the Syrian civil war, Porter shot 59 Tomahawk missiles at al-Shayrat Air Base in April 2017 in response to the regime’s attacks on civilians.
“Porter’s time in 6th Fleet was an invaluable experience for all,” the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Christopher Petro, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful for the personal and professional development provided by the opportunities and challenges encountered as a member of Forward Deployed Naval Forces Europe.”
ROTA is in the Campo