The U.S. Navy’s newest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, the future USS Portland (LPD 27) arrived in its namesake city of Portland, Oregon on April 14, 2018.
The ship traveled through the Columbia River to its final destination, the city of Portland, where it will be officially commissioned on April 21 during an official commissioning ceremony. 116 friends, family members, and guests of crewmembers assigned to Portland embarked aboard the vessel to transit from Astoria, Ore. to Portland.
“It was an honor and a privilege to be able to show off the ship and her crew,” said Portland Commanding Officer, Capt. J. R. Hill. “A friends and family day cruise also presented an incredible opportunity for the crew to be able to show loved ones their capabilities as military members in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.”
Members of the commissioning committee joined the crew on its transit to experience life aboard a vessel they witnessed being built from the ground up.
“We’ve been working towards the ship’s commissioning ceremony since they started building the ship in Mississippi,” said Gary Piercy, Portland commissioning committee chairman. “We’re very pleased and proud to welcome the ship to the great city of Portland.”
During the embark, guests were able to visit static displays set up around the ship, visit the pilot house, among other locations, and share a meal with crew members.
“It was an awesome experience today to be able to share our ship’s capabilities and those of the Navy/Marine Corps team with all of our friends and family, as well as the commissioning committee, as we transit along the great Columbia River,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nicholas Bularzik, the ship’s friends and family day coordinator.
In addition to friends and family members, other guests included 22 Portland division sea cadets, who received the opportunity to experience life aboard a Navy warship for the first time.
“It was definitely a new experience to bring our sea cadets on board,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jason Kerr, executive officer for the Portland division sea cadets. “As the future leaders of the Navy, it was eye-opening for them to interact with enlisted crewmembers and officers. It was a lot of fun for them and something they won’t forget anytime soon.”
Sailors whose family members joined them relished the opportunity to show off their work environment.
“It feels great to have my dad on board,” said Engineman Fireman Colton Wilson, assigned to the engineering department. “He finally gets to see what we actually do on a day-to-day basis. He’s happier than he’s ever been.”
Amphibious transport dock ships are versatile players in maritime security, with the ability to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of Amphibious Readiness Group (ARGs), Expeditionary Strike Groups (ESGs), or Joint Task Forces (JTFs). In addition to performing the primary mission, the San Antonio-class ships are able to support anti-piracy operations, and provide humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster relief operations around the world.
Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship built by Huntington Ingalls Industries. It is the third ship to bear the name USS Portland, however it is the first ship to be named solely for Oregon’s largest city.
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Abigayle R. Lutz, USS Portland