Reserve Sailors from Seal Beach, Calif. based Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 11 have been working to assist the crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) since the ship's collision with a Japanese vessel near the Strait of Hormuz, Aug. 12.
Immediately following the collision, the ship was required to pull into port for emergency repairs. Capt. Darren Hanson, MSRON 11 commanding officer, quickly got his crew ready to support Porter's emergency relief efforts and opened up their shore facilities, offering temporary food service and berthing to Porter Sailors.
With temperatures in some of Porter's spaces soaring to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Ernest Sierra spearheaded the relief efforts.
"They needed some temporary air conditioned spaces for relief," said Sierra. "First, we rallied at the USO facility to feed and water the crew. Then, we set up cots and generators to provide them with cool berthing tents."
Operations Specialist 2nd Class LaMart Davis, a member of the Porter crew, said she was touched by the relief efforts provided by MSRON team.
"We really appreciate everything MSRON 11 has done for us," said Davis. "Just being able to get off the ship and have a nice meal was great, and we liked the berthing tents a lot!"
After the initial efforts to provide the crew with their basic needs, Sierra and MSRON 11 worked with USO managers to comfort the Sailors by making phones and calling cards available, providing movies, laundry services, food vendors, and numerous barbeques.
Along with the initial aid, Porter has bonded with the MSRON in many ways.
"We are extremely grateful for the support MSRON 11 has given us," said Cmdr. Dave Richardson, Porter's commanding officer. "They have not merely assisted our crew, but have gone a step further and really 'adopted' us."
Reservist Chief Hospital Corpsman Andrew Pashos, a 14-year firefighter/paramedic with the Tucson Fire Department, was heading up a command-sponsored barbeque on the USO port facility when Porter Sailors first debarked. Pashos made it his top priority to ensure the entire crew was served a hot meal upon arrival.
"That's ultimately what we are here for, to support the Sailors, and ships," said Pashos. "We were able to help them in a time of need, and that's the most rewarding part."
Each year roughly 600 Navy Reservists attached to NECC's coastal riverine force, spend six to nine months deployed on a rotational basis in support of maritime security operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility with duties including embarking Navy and USNS vessels as embarked security teams, manning armed security patrol boats, and providing waterside and landside protection for key U.S. and partner critical infrastructure.
While several units have provided temporary support to Porter during her repair, MSRON 11 has maintained a continued presence from Porter's arrival until her upcoming departure to Norfolk, Va. for continued shipyard repairs.
"I am proud of what this team did for our shipmates on USS Porter, and I am proud of what they do every day in support of their country. MSRON 11 is not your average Reserve unit. These Sailors repeatedly answer the call to serve in this highly demanding force as part of the operational Navy Reserve," said Hanson.
MSRON 11 is deployed as Commander, Task Group 56.7, which exercises command and control to defend high value naval assets and provide sustained security to designated maritime infrastructure in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Article by Lt. Mahdi A. Cocci, Expeditionary Security Squadron 11 Public Affairs