Welcome Aboard

Dear Shipmate,

Welcome Aboard the mighty warship USS PORTER (DDG 78). Your assignment to PORTER will challenge you to be the best. Hard work to support the Navy's finest warship is rewarded with success and excellence. While onboard you will have the opportunity to earn your Surface Warfare pin.

If you currently have orders to USS PORTER, we look forward to having you as a member of our team. Your first step prior to reporting aboard is to have a sponsor assigned to assist you. Your sponsor can help answer any questions you have about the ship and the Hampton Roads area. If you do not have a sponsor yet, please click Need A Sponsor:

Need A Sponsor

Please keep in mind that the ship's schedule is flexible. If you arrive in Norfolk by air, you will most likely fly into Norfolk International Airport. There is a USO desk inside the main lobby of the airport. The USO desk is there to assist you in reporting to the ship. If the USO desk is closed please call the USS Porter's quarterdeck at 444-4873. If possible, we will send a duty driver to pick you up at the airport.

It is PORTER'S goal to have your sponsor meet you at the airport when you arrive. Due to operational commitments, sometimes this may not be possible.

If the ship is not in port, you are directed to report to Transient Personnel Unit (TPU) Norfolk at the following address:

Building J-50
1683 Gilbert St.
Norfolk, VA 23453
(757) 444-1640

TPU does not have a duty driver available to pick you up. If you take a taxi from the airport, on average it will cost $20 to take you to Norfolk Naval Base. Once the taxi arrives, be sure to ask for a receipt. This can be turned in to the ship's disbursing office for a reimbursement. Depending on the ship's schedule, you will either remain at TPU until the ship returns, or they will assist in arranging for a flight to meet the ship.

If you are arriving by car, Norfolk Naval Base is located at the end of Hwy 564 which branches off of Hwy 64. Before driving onto the base for the first time, you must register your vehicle at the Base Pass Office, located on Hampton Blvd. (Hwy 564 dead-ends into Hampton Blvd. Turn Left, the Base Pass Office is on the Left at the first traffic light).

When registering your vehicle you will need the following items:

  • Military I.D.
  • State Driver's License
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance
  • Virginia State Inspection receipt (only if vehicle is registered in the state of Virginia)


The Hampton Roads area is made up of 7 cities, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News. There are over 1 million people currently living in the area. We are considered a tourist destination, so there are many points of interest. Museums, The Norfolk Zoo, amusement parks, historical sites, theater events, live shows and festivals make up a small portion from a long list of attractions.

When making your move to Hampton Roads, Virginia, the Navy Family Services Centers are ready and available to assist you. Call 1-800-FSC-LINE(800-372-5463) , 24-hours-a-day.

The Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) at the Navy Family Services Center provides the following services for military personnel and their families.

Welcome to Hampton Program: Acquaints families with the Navy lifestyle, benefits, and other available services. Topics include: spouse employment, medical care, housing referral, financial planning, legal assistance, base police, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and the Ombudsman Program.

Hospitality Items: Card tables, high chairs, kitchenware and utensils, playpens, weekender beds, linens, and other items are available for temporary use until your household shipment arrives, Child safety seats are available at no cost.

Upon arrival, visit RAP for further information on base and community services. RAP is here to welcome you and assist with your relocation to Hampton Roads.

New to the Naval Station Norfolk area? Check out these web sites:

City of Suffolk, VA
City of Hampton, VA
City of Norfolk, VA
City of Portsmouth, VA
Hampton Roads
City of Chesapeake, VA
City of Virginia Beach, VA


Navy Housing - Navy housing for married personnel in the Hampton Roads area consists of several thousand enlisted units and several hundred officer units. Requests for application should be made in person or by writing the Housing Referral Office nearest your new duty station.

Housing Welcome Centers - Your orders require you to check into one of the Hampton Roads Housing Offices before you negotiate for off-base housing. They can help you locate civilian vacancies. The following are local Housing telephone numbers and their addresses.

Realistically, there is a variable wait for government housing in the Hampton Roads Area. These times can vary based upon your dependent status. Click here for current wait periods. To speed up your housing assignment you should submit a copy of your orders, along with a completed housing application (DD Form 1746). Include an endorsed copy of your orders if you have already checked out of your previous command.

If you are bringing your family with you, please be aware that you must check into the command or TPU first in order to start your TLA (Temporary Lodging Allowance) to pay for a hotel. Your Welcome Aboard kit contains information on many TLA approved hotels, but you should check with your sponsor before making reservations. Please make sure that you save all receipts in conjunction with your PCS travel to USS PORTER. It is advisable to keep a travel journal with an itemized list of expenses and the date/time the expense was incurred.


When you arrive in Norfolk, you and your family may need to stay in the Navy Lodge while awaiting housing. There are two Navy Lodges in the Hampton Roads area. Be aware, they are very popular and you will need to book your room as far in advance as possible. Talk to the housing office about your housing options before you finalize plans to bring your family to Norfolk.

Navy Lodge

The Navy Lodges in the Hampton Roads are located as follows:

Naval Base, Norfolk
(off base) $46 per day
7811 Hampton Boulevard
Norfolk, VA 757-489-2656

Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek
(located on base) $46 per day

For reservations call 1-800-NAVY-INN

Electricity Deposit Clubs

Some of the defense credit unions have implemented a new program, in cooperation with Virginia Power, to waive the security deposit for their customers. You must maintain a minimal balance, plus pay a membership fee. The fee is non-refundable. Although the program is designed primarily for active duty personnel, anyone who is eligible for membership at the participating credit unions can use this service. The following is a list of available clubs:

Energizer Club
Atlantic Fleet Federal Credit Union

Power Club
Naval Amphibious Base Credit Union

Utility Deposit Guarantee Program
Navy Federal Credit Union

It is recommended that you obtain a letter of credit from utility companies with which you have had service for a minimum of 12 months. Often these letters can eliminate sizable deposits required by utility companies in Hampton Roads.

Virginia Power Offices

Main Office
2700 Cromwell Road
Norfolk, VA 23509

To Connect Service in Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Hampton: 858-4660

Garbage Pickup

Department of Utilities
P.O. Box 1080
Norfolk, VA 23501
Phone: 664-6700

Garbage pickup is provided by each city. The service charge is included in the bi-monthly water bill in all cities except Norfolk which has a direct charge. Cost is approximately $7 per month.

Public Utilities - Water

Department of Utilities
P.O. Box 1080
Norfolk, VA 23501
757- 664-6700

Department of Utilities
P.O. Box 15225
Chesapeake, VA 23328

Department of Utilities
801 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA 23705

Department of Utilities
Municipal Center
Virginia Beach, VA 23456

Department of Utilities
P.O. Box 979
Newport News, VA 23607

Shipboard Life

Shipboard life provides its own list of unique requirements. To make it easier to settle into the command, please be aware of the following:

  • Living aboard: If you are a single E1-E3, or an E4 with less than four years active duty, you will be required to live aboard ship. Single E4 personnel with four or more years of active duty must submit a request chit through their chain of command to live ashore. All other personnel (Officer and Enlisted) who have not been receiving BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) prior to arriving onboard must contact the Personnel Office upon check-in to initiate BAH. All hands are required to maintain a berthing space while assigned to the ship.
  • Living ashore: If you live ashore, you must maintain adequate transportation and a phone. Personnel experiencing difficulties getting to work or failing to maintain their recall information could find themselves restricted to the ship or losing live ashore privileges.
  • Uniforms / Storage: You will need a complete sea-bag while onboard the ship. Limit the number of civilian clothes you keep on board, as storage is limited.
    • Note: In foreign ports, collared shirts and long pants are required for males when on liberty. Clothing which does not present a positive image of the ship or the US Navy will not be allowed in foreign ports. Transport your items in your sea-bag or in a soft-sided bag that can be easily stowed. The ship provides both ship's laundry and self service laundry machines for all of your clothing. A pier side Laundromat is also open for personal laundry. Storage space for personal items aboard ship is extremely limited. It is recommended that you obtain a self-storage space if you have more gear than can be stowed aboard, there are many in the area nearby.
  • Personal electronic items: CD / MP3 players, personal gaming systems (PS2, XBox, etc.), electric razors and alarm clocks are permitted but they must be electrically safety checked when they are brought aboard. Large stereos cannot be played in berthing spaces and are difficult to stow so they should not be brought onboard. Small compact disc / MP3 players, gaming systems and laptop computers with headphones are most common among the crew. The Ship's Store stocks a few models of MP3 players and batteries for purchase.
  • Ship's Store: Our excellent ship's store carries a variety of convenience and personal items as well as USS PORTER only items such as ball caps. However, due to limited space, it does not carry uniforms or shoes. Utilities are the Uniform of the Day while Inport and for running errands off of the ship. Long sleeved coveralls are the Uniform of the Day underway. Dress uniforms (Summer Whites and Winter Blues) are required for watch standing duties. You will also need steel-toed safety boots and dress shoes. The Naval Station Norfolk Navy Exchange carries most items in stock or will ship them to you. If you are meeting the ship somewhere other than NAVSTA Norfolk, make sure you have everything you need.
    • Note: It always seems to be colder when underway. That being said, the most common problem new sailors face is not having enough or not having the right kind of cold weather gear. Buy at least one set of synthetic long underwear (white or black), a balaclava (black) and some windstopper gloves (black). You'll be very glad you did.
  • E-mail and Snail mail: USS PORTER has one of the finest Post Offices in the fleet. However, it is difficult to receive mail while underway or in foreign ports. The ship highly encourages the use of e-mail to keep in contact with family and friends. You will receive an e-mail account when you check-in.
  • Legal Documents: Being underway can be a trying experience for even the most seasoned family members. Not providing your family, spouse or child care providers with appropriate legal documents such as Powers of Attorney and Wills can make it a nightmare. Be sure to contact the Legal Affairs Officer if you need any Power of Attorney (POA) or a Will.
  • Medical and Dental: We do not have a medical or dental officer onboard. USS PORTER has an Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC) and two junior corpsman (HMs) to handle basic medical needs. Medical treatment is available through the Naval Hospital Portsmouth or the Sewell Point Medical Clinic. Dental support is provided through the Naval Station Norfolk Branch Dental Clinic . It is advisable to take care of all major medical and dental issues before reporting, and to bring a 90-day supply of any medications with you in case the ship does not stock your medicines.
  • Pay: It is essential that you keep your personal finances in order while on sea duty. It is mandatory to establish your my Pay account in order to access your DoD payroll account (LESs, W-2s, Direct Deposit, allotments, tax information, etc.) Also, learn how to access your bank online so you can manage your accounts while underway. Operational commitments often delay the receipt of mail, and having your bills paid via allotment or automatic withdrawal can prevent you from having late payments and receiving a bad credit report. The ship routinely has email and web access while underway. The ship also has an onboard ATM into which you can deposit some of your pay. This is very convenient when we are in a foreign port and you need access to cash. See the Disbursing Officer (DISBO) about your ATM account when you check-in.
  • Parents: If you are a single parent or a dual military couple, you will be required to provide the command with a Dependent Care Certificate which identifies who will care for your children on short notice or during deployed periods. Sea duty is extremely demanding and schedules often change, both of which require flexibility and prior arrangements.