The U.S. Navy's newest Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer Porter (DDG 78) will join the U.S. Atlantic Fleet March 20, during an 11 a.m. (EST) commissioning ceremony in Port Canaveral, Fla.
Sen. Thad Cochran of Miss., a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is the ceremony's principal speaker. In the time-honored Navy tradition, the ship's sponsor, Garland Hawthorne Johnson, wife of Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jay L. Johnson, will give the order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
The ship honors a father, Commodore David Porter (1780-1843) and his son, Vice Adm. David Dixon Porter (1813-1891) whose combined legendary naval exploits earned them a place of honor in U.S. Navy history. The elder Porter achieved fame while in command of the frigate Essex by capturing the first British warship of the War of 1812. He later served as a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners before resigning his commission to become commander in chief of the Mexican Navy. He died while serving as U.S. Minister of Turkey.
His son, Vice Adm. David Dixon Porter, distinguished himself by rising from the rank of Lieutenant to Rear Admiral in two years during the Civil War, fighting in more battles and earning more laurels than any other senior officer. He is considered one of the most colorful U.S. Naval officers to ever command a squadron. During the New Orleans campaign in 1862, he commanded a mortar flotilla under Adm. David G. Farragut and captured Forts Jackson and St. Philip. He assisted Gen. William T. Sherman in the capture of Arkansas Post, and aided Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the siege of Vicksburg. After the war, he served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1866-1869 and a senior advisor to the secretary of the Navy. In 1870 he became the Navy's senior ranking admiral.
Four previous ships have borne the name Porter, including a steam torpedo boat (TB 6), which served from 1897-1912 and three destroyers: DD 59, which served in World War I; DD 356, which earned one battle star during World War II before being sunk off the Solomon's in 1942; and DD 800, which earned one battle star during World War II and one during the Korean Conflict.
Porter is the 28th ship of the DDG 51 program. Truly multi-mission combatants, Aegis destroyers are the most capable surface warships ever built; conducting a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of the National Military Strategy.
Equipped with the latest weapons, electronics, helicopter support facilities, and propulsion, auxiliary and survivability systems, Aegis destroyers carry out the U.S. Navy's missions well into the next century. State-of-the-art Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) systems provide their ships' crew with complete situational awareness.
This high tech destroyer is equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, the world's foremost naval weapons system. Space-age communications, radar and weapons technologies are combined in a single platform for unlimited mission flexibility. The systems include the AN/SPY-1D phased array radar; the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, which fires a combination of up to 90 Standard surface-to-air, Tomahawk surface-to-surface missiles; and the ANSQQ-89 Antisubmarine Warfare System, with a bow-mounted AN/SQS-53C sonar and AN/SQR-19 towed array. The tactical towed-array sonar provides long range passive detection of enemy submarines. The hull-mounted sonar, can detect and track submarine actively and passively.
Porter has eight Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers and six MK 46 torpedo tubes, as well as two MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems and a multimission 5"/54 caliber deck-mounted gun which can be used as an anti-ship weapon, close-in point defense or in support of forces ashore with naval fires. Porter also features the LAMPS MK III Undersea Warfare Control System, with landing and replenishment facilities for the SH-60B helicopter.
Cmdr. Kenneth V. Spiro, a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, will command Porter. With a crew of 21 officers and 322 enlisted personnel, Porter will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., as a member of Destroyer Squadron Two. The 12th Arleigh Burke class destroyer to be built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., Porter is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,950 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.