ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Crew members on board USS Porter (DDG 78) celebrated the guided-missile destroyer's tenth birthday in the Atlantic Ocean just after setting sail for a Tiger Cruise March 20.
Porter embarked on its celebratory Tiger Cruise from Mayport, Fla., after boarding several friends and family members of Sailors assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer.
"For ten years now, this ship has served the Navy honorably," said Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Luis Gonzalez. "I think that having the 'Tigers' along during our birthday celebration gave them a lot more appreciation for the military and our Sailors here. They see that it's not all fun and games; our work is important, and it's very serious."
The birthday celebration officially commenced with the solemn, time-honored tradition of setting the Prisoner of War (POW) memorial table on the enlisted mess decks, followed by the Porter crew's rendition of "Happy Birthday" and a cake cutting ceremony. Crew members and "Tigers" alike participated in the festivities.
"Being a part of the POW ceremony at the birthday celebration really humbled me," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Ashley Dean. "I was glad that my mom had a chance to see how much these remembrances and traditions really mean to us, even when we're celebrating something like our tenth anniversary."
The ship's Tiger Cruise was hosted to offer friends and family members a glimpse of what a day in the life of a Porter Sailor entails. In addition to everyday shipboard evolutions, special activities like flight quarters, shipboard tours, weapons systems demonstrations, and movies played on the flight deck made the occasion both informative and enjoyable for many.
"I think we all have a much better understanding of what life is really like on a Navy ship," said Amber Clavin, sister of Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Shannon Clavin. "I got to see firsthand what my sister's life is like on this ship now, instead of just hearing about it. We got to watch all of the daily processes and enjoy the ride at the same time."
Porter recently completed a Group Sail evolution with Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 that encompassed comprehensive fleet irregular warfare training (FIWT) exercises in the Atlantic Ocean. The Group Sail's primary purpose was to augment the battle group's abilities to execute the U.S. Maritime Strategy by focusing on FIWT and technique, in areas like counter-piracy and theater security.
"Freedom's Champion," the fifth ship to bear the name of two naval legends, Commodore David Porter and his son, Admiral David Dixon Porter, was commissioned on March 20, 1999, in Port Canaveral, Fla.
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