Petty Officer Second Class Jonathan Zamora, a Miami native, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Porter.
Zamora is a culinary specialist aboard the forward-deployed ship operating out of Rota, Spain. Porter is one of four destroyers homeported in Rota.
A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for ships services such as laundry, meal preparations, and the barbershop.
“I love to prepare good food for the crew,” Zamora said. “It makes me feel good to know that they appreciate the time and effort put into it.”
Commissioned in 1999, the Porter is 509 feet long, and is named after Commodore David Porter and his son, Adm. David Dixon Porter.
Porter is a tactical multi-mission surface combatant capable of conducting anti-air submarine surface warfare in conjunction with being outfitted with aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities. BMD enables the ship to conduct long-range surveillance, tracking, and engagement of short and medium-range ballistic missiles.
“My sailors are the heart and soul of this ship, and I absolutely have the best of the best. They have that adventurous spirit, and they truly want to be here,” said Commander Andria Slough, commanding officer, USS Porter. “They’re a phenomenal group and are always willing to tackle any challenge and excel at every mission this ship is assigned. I feel privileged to be the captain of such a talented and dedicated group of hardworking men and women.”
Approximately 30 officers and 300 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the ship running smoothly. The jobs range from maintaining engines to handling weaponry and everything in between.
“The command makes serving enjoyable and that is why the camaraderie is so good,” Zamora said. I also enjoy traveling to a lot of places. I have been to 11 countries.”
Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a ship, the challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Zamora and other Porter sailors know they are part of a legacy that will be last beyond their lifetimes.
“I get to serve and give back,” Zamora said. “We are a part of the camaraderie.”