NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Sunday, ending its seven year deployment.

The weekend homecoming marked the end of the ship’s time as a Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) destroyer.  

Porter left Naval Station Rota, Spain on Sept. 28 after seven years operating under command and control of U.S. 6th Fleet in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa area of operations.  

“Porter’s time in 6th 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.” 

Rear Adm. David Patchell, vice commander at U.S. 2nd Fleet, spoke after the Porter’s mooring at Naval Station Norfolk on Sunday. 

“I won’t speak for long because I know I am standing between you and your family and friends, but I wanted to extend my congratulations on a successful return to the home front after your eight year forward deployment to Rota,” Patchell said. “As an FDNF Europe destroyer, your team proudly represented our Navy and our Nation, working side by side with our Allies and Partners, building interoperability and providing invaluable defensive capabilities over the course of 11 patrols within 6th Fleet. Your dedication to the mission is not lost on us. Thank you for all you have done for our Navy, our Nation, and our Allies and partners.” 

Porter participated in numerous joint programs with the allies and other branches of service. Among the many notable exercises that Porter assisted in are FOST, BALTOPS, Atlas Handshake, Joint Warrior, Sea Breeze, Polaris and Atlantic Resolve. Porter conducted 11 patrols during its time in the 6th fleet, sailing through the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and High North.  

Porter’s position on the FDNF-E force is being filled by USS Bulkeley (DDG 84). The destroyer recently arrived in Rota.