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Cmdr. Joseph Hamilton relieved Cmdr. Christopher Petro as USS Porter (DDG 78) commanding officer Feb. 2, during a change of command ceremony held aboard Naval Station Norfolk.
"It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve as executive officer and commanding officer on Porter," said Petro. "I am extremely proud of Porter's Sailors and all that they have accomplished. They have risen to every challenge and executed with incredible rofessionalism."
Under Petro’s leadership, Porter completed four forward-deployed patrols in the European area of operations as well as executed a successful homeport shift, bringing Porter home to Naval Station Norfolk, completing her time as a forward deployed warship. Porter is now a part of Task Group Greyhound.
Petro’s next assignment is as an instructor at Surface Warfare Officers School Command in Newport, Rhode Island.
"It has been a privilege to serve with Cmdr. Petro," said Hamilton. "I am extremely fortunate to have learned under his leadership and will continue in his legacy. Porter Sailors are some of the best and brightest our Navy has to offer, and I am tremendously pleased to lead this crew."
Hamilton was born and raised in Green Pond, South Carolina. He graduated from The Citadel, through which he earned his commission via their Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Previously, Hamilton held command on the USS Patriot (MCM 7) based in Sasebo, Japan, and has most recently served as the executive officer aboard Porter.
Porter is the last of the Flight II Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and bears the name of not one but two naval legends: Cmdre. David Porter (1780-1843) and his son, Adm. David Dixon Porter (1813-1891).
Commodore David Porter served in the Quasi War, the War of 1812 and in the West Indies. He was taken as a prisoner of war during the Barbary Wars while serving as the acting captain of the USS Constitution. As USS Essex commander in the War of 1812, Capt. Porter achieved fame by capturing Alert, the first British warship taken in the conflict. Cmdre. Porter resigned his commission in 1826 and became the Commander-in-Chief of the Mexican Navy before returning to the United States to become the charge d’affaires to Istanbul in 1831 and U.S. Consul to Turkey in 1841.
Adm. David Dixon Porter served in the Mexican War, and the Civil War. He entered the Navy as a midshipman at the age of 16. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was promoted to the rank of commander and made significant contributions in the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Vicksburg, although his most significant appearance was the assault he led on Fort Fischer, the final significant naval contribution of the Civil War. After Fort Fischer, he was promoted to admiral, and soon after the war he was promoted to vice admiral.
After the death of Adm. David Farragut, the adopted son of Cmdre. David Dixon Porter was promoted to admiral, only the second American to hold that title. He received command of the United States Navy and ended with his service as Superintendent of the Naval Academy where he was responsible for a significant series of reforms laying the groundwork for the current mission of the Naval Academy.