NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - After a collision in the Strait of Hormuz, the crew of the USS Porter has turned what could have been a tragedy into triumph.
The "Big E" drew the big crowd at Sunday's homecoming, but the return of the USS Porter was certainly a big story of bad news and good news for the Navy that began with a collision in the early morning hours of Aug. 12.
"We had a 160,000 ton water displacement, Japanese tanker impacted the starboard side of the USS Porter," Admiral Ted Carter told WAVY.com.
The collision left a 20' by 30' hole in the ship above the waterline.
Chief James Antoine is an interior Communication Chief on the Porter. He was in his rack sleeping when the collision occurred at 1 a.m.
"Everybody was emotional," Antoine told WAVY.com. "Everybody was scared, they were frightened."
According to Antoine, several spaces took on water, but the crew responded with damage control procedures.
"We pulled together to do what we had to do to get to Dubai," Antonie said.
The Navy said they pulled into UAE Aug. 13 and were underway Sept. 29. Commander Dave Richardson took command of the ship after the collision, replacing the previous commanding officer.
"There's no doubt about it, there were some mistakes made," Carter said. "The commanding officer has been fired, that's known, and we'll determine what's next beyond that."
And yet, the story of the Porter is a source of pride for the commander of the Enterprise Strike Group.
"She has sailed [with us] through the Suez Canal, she came through the Straight of Hormuz with us last time," Carter added. "Made it through the Atlantic with us, threaded the needle through three hurricanes."
The repair that was done to the Porter was what the Navy calls a "voyage repair." She was already scheduled for an availability in the yard next year and more extensive repairs will be done at that time.
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