GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) celebrated Earth Day 2012 while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) April 22.
The ship hosted an Earth Day barbecue that offered Sailors a chance to relax, while reflecting on the ship's environmental conservation efforts.
"It was great to take a little time out of our busy operational schedule to relax and enjoy some good food with shipmates," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Daniel R. Mckee. "Everyone is aware that the next four days are dedicated to our Earth and what we can do to lower our impact on it."
Porter constantly works to minimize its environmental footprint.
Porter's oily waste system is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified and ensures residual oily liquids are kept aboard for reuse or proper disposal on shore.
As with all U.S. Navy ships, Porter also takes proactive steps to ensure that solid waste created aboard is controlled and disposed of in an environmentally-responsible manner.
"We take all of our trash and dispose of it in accordance with Navy environmental protection guidelines," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Michael Patino, one of the ship's waste-processing facility operators. "This means that all plastic is melted and compressed into disks that are offloaded upon returning to port; all metal is disposed of correctly; and all paper and food are ground up and reintroduced into the ocean ecosystem."
During the Earth Day barbecue, Porter Commanding Officer Cmdr. Martin F. Arriola addressed the crew and urged them to remain vigilant in their environmental stewardship.
"Today's events offered us an opportunity to relax a little, but we must also remember that Earth Day is an important day for everyone around the world, whether you are in the military on deployment, or back at home, or if you are a civilian," said Arriola. "Our goal should be to leave our planet in as good a condition as possible for future generations to enjoy. Team Porter will continue to do our part as responsible environmental stewards."
Porter is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and supporting missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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