Loching around and cherry picking

The sometimes beautiful tale of two hard-serving forward-deployed DDGs this week, waving the flag in far off ports.:

FASLANE, Scotland (March 31, 2019) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) departs Faslane, Scotland, to participate in exercise Joint Warrior 19-1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

Porter, named for War of 1812 hero Commodore David Porter, and his son, Civil War Adm. David Dixon Porter, was built at Pascagoula and commissioned 20 March 1999. As such, the Flight II Burke doesn’t look bad for 20 years considering she has mixed it up with the Russians in the Black Sea, fired Tomahawks into Syria and survived a collision in 2012 with an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. She is one of four DDGs assigned to Rota as part of the 6th Fleet.

Located on Gare Loch, Faslane is home to HM Naval Base, Clyde, home to the RN’s Trident fleet as well as the bulk of the country’s subs and minehunters.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 4, 2019) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) is moored at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler R. Fraser/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 4, 2019) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) is moored at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler R. Fraser/Released)

Stethem, named for SW2 Robert Stethem, the Seabee diver killed by terrorists onboard TWA 847 in 1985, was also built an Ingalls while I worked there (and may or may not have my initials welded in her inner bottom somewhere). This early Flight I Burke commissioned 21 October 1995 and has seen lots of deployments in her 24-years of service. She is homeported in Japan, where the cherry blossoms (Sakura) are breathtaking this time of year.

As a side note, the best Asian John Denver impersonator I ever saw was in Yokosuka.

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