PORTLAND, Ore. — During an official commissioning ceremony held in front of more than 5,000 guests, the crew of USS Portland brought their ship to life in its namesake city April 21, Expeditionary Strike Group Three said in an April 24 release.
Patrick Shanahan, deputy secretary of defense, officially placed Portland in commission, the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock to join the Navy’s operational fleet.
“The City of Roses has a ship worthy of its creative spirit and industrious heritage,” Shanahan said. “The acceptance trials are over and her officers and crew are ready. Wherever her flag flies, in foreign ports, on the high seas, in weather fair or foul, this ship will carry the spirit of this city on the Columbia River.”
While addressing the audience, Shanahan emphasized the importance behind the naming of the Portland, while touching upon the history of the first two ships to carry the name “Portland.”
“This is the first ship to be named exclusively for Portland, Oregon,” Shanahan said. “Her officers and crew will write the next chapter and do so with pride. This ship will carry our power and goodwill anywhere they are needed.”
Since departing Pascagoula, Mississippi, the ship and its crew have sailed 9,930 nautical miles, conducted a line-crossing ceremony, and sailed through the historic Panama Canal on their way to their designated homeport of San Diego.
“Since December 1775, commissioning ceremonies have been an honored naval tradition celebrating, accepting, and welcoming a new ship into the fleet,” said Capt. J.R. Hill, Portland’s commanding officer. “When USS Portland was brought to life during today’s ceremony, I was humbled as I thought back to the dedication and passion the crew demonstrated throughout our journey to this culminating moment.”
Speaking on behalf of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, Deputy CNO Vice Adm. Dixon Smith went down memory lane, recalling the history of the Oregon Shipyard, which during the height of World War II launched 24 ships in only 30 days.
“The USS Portland has joined the ever-growing list of reasons for Portlanders to be proud,” said Smith. “The men and women of this crew come from all across the nation and will soon sail, perhaps into harm’s way, to keep us safe here at home.”
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the 684-foot warfighting vessel, where they could experience the state-of-the-art design that will continue to sail decades from today with future generations of Sailors and Marines aboard.
“Portland’s motto, ‘First Responders, Brave and Determined’ made having the ceremony in Portland — with the city’s first responders present — even more meaningful for all in attendance,” Hill said.