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Destroyer USS Porter Returns to Homeport Following Tomahawk Strike; USS Ross Remains in Eastern Mediterranean

Sailors man the rails aboard the guided- missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78) as the ship returns to Naval Station Rota, Spain, April 11, 2017. US Navy Photo

One of the U.S. destroyers tasked with launching a Tomahawk Land Attack Missile on a Syrian airfield last week has returned to its homeport in Spain, the service announced on Tuesday.

USS Porter (DDG-78) returned to Naval Station Rota making the completion of a five-month European patrol in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

“During the patrol, Porter conducted port visits in Valencia, Spain; Venice, Italy; Souda Bay, Greece; and Constanta, Romania,” read a statement from U.S. 6th Fleet.

Last week, 59 TLAMS from Porter and USS Ross (DDG-78) struck targets at the al-Shayrat air base in Syria destroying Su-22 fighters and logistics facilities in response to an April 4 chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

USS Porter (DDG-78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. US Navy Photo

“The assessment of the Department of Defense is that the strike resulted in the damage or destruction of fuel and ammunition sites, air defense capabilities, and 20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft,” read a Monday statement from U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“The Syrian government has lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest. The Syrian government would be ill-advised ever again to use chemical weapons.”

Porter commander Cmdr. Andria Slough received a congratulatory calll from President Donald Trump on April 9 after the strike.

“In general, the President was impressed with Porter’s precision and lethality. It was obvious he was extremely pleased with our performance,” Slough said.

Cmdr. Andria L. Slough, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), receives a telephone call from President Donald J. Trump on April 9, 2017. US Navy Photo

Ross is still currently in the region for ongoing presence operations following the strikes, a Navy official told USNI News on Tuesday.

Ross and Porter are part of a quartet of U.S. guided missile destroyers that are part of the American ballistic missile defense net for Europe. While BMD is their primary mission in the region, service officials have repeatedly stressed the multi-mission nature of the ship allowed for speed of the U.S. response to the April 4 attack.

“This patrol, which began back in November, has been full of change and challenge,” Cmdr. Slough said in a statement. “I look forward to what we can accomplish next patrol after some maintenance and additional training.”

Following the strike on the Syrian airfield by Porter and Ross, the Russian Navy has sortied at least five surface ships set to operate in the Eastern Mediterranean near Syria.