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Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) rescued four scuba divers who were separated from the pleasure craft Big Bill’s and had not resurfaced on Aug. 13. They were reported missing for nearly 14 hours.
Coast Guard Sector Charleston initially reported the divers’ status, and Coast Guard Sector North Carolina initiating a multi-asset search and rescue effort. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft spotted the divers and dropped a life raft for them.
Porter responded to a request from the HC-130 aircraft to assist the rescue effort, 40 nautical miles southeast of Wilmington, N.C., at approximately 1 a.m., Aug. 14.
“I am proud of the combined efforts of the leadership and crew of USS Porter, Destroyer Squadron 26, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel to rescue four divers,” said Rear Adm. Max “Pepper” McCoy, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4. “Their safe return to their families is indicative of the professionalism and teamwork of our maritime services.”
Porter Sailors safely rescued the divers from a life raft launched from the HC-130 and transported them to the ship using a rigid hull inflatable boat, which was captured in video by the Coast Guard.
While aboard the ship, all four divers received a basic medical evaluation and meal. At approximately 3:30 a.m., they were moved to a Coast Guard small boat for transportation ashore and reunification with their families at Coast Guard Station Oak Island
“I couldn’t be more proud of the crew of this ship,” said Cmdr. Joseph Hamilton, commanding officer of Porter. “It is truly impressive to watch a group of young men and women come together as a team to support our fellow citizens in distress at sea, while also maintaining focus on the important mission that we are supporting in Large Scale Exercise ‘23. It’s just one incredible example of their commitment to the mission and our motto, ‘Freedom’s Champion.’”
Porter is operating in the area supporting LSE 23 under CSG 4, who is leading live events within, and off the coast of, Virginia and North Carolina.
The exercise is a live, virtual, and constructive, globally integrated exercise designed to refine how the Navy and Marine Corps team synchronizes maritime operations across multiple fleets.
“As professional mariners, U.S. Navy Sailors have a responsibility to aid people who need assistance at sea,” said Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer, commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. “The fact that Porter was able to conduct this rescue while actively participating in one of the biggest global naval exercises of the year is a testament to the crew’s flexibility and readiness to operate across a spectrum of operational tasks they may be called to do in the future. They are capable of saving those in need while defending the homeland…they are ready to fight tonight.”
Porter and USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) are specifically focused on furthering maritime air defense and surface warfare integration with Marine Corps aviation at the tactical and operational levels of warfare within LSE 23.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mid-Atlantic posted photos of the divers’ reunion with their families from their official X (formerly known as Twitter) account this morning.
LSE 2023 is a live, virtual, and constructive, globally integrated exercise designed to refine how the Navy and Marine Corps team synchronizes maritime operations across multiple fleets. Participating units will include six Navy and Marine Corps component commands and seven U.S. numbered Fleets, including U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, operating across 22 time zones.
Carrier Strike Group 4 mentors, trains and assesses carrier strike groups, amphibious ready groups, and independent deployers for global combat against peer competitors.
U.S. 2nd Fleet, reestablished in 2018 in response to the changing global security environment, develops and employs maritime forces ready to fight across multiple domains in the Atlantic and Arctic in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
Please contact U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org with additional queries.