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Volunteers sought by local committee coordinating public commissioning ceremony at the Port of Portland on April 21.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS JESSE MONFORD - Local media and families gather on the pier as the future San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) arrives into its new homeport of San Diego. It is scheduled to be ceremoniously commissioned Apr. 21 in Portland.The USS Portland (LPD 27) arrived at its new homeport of San Diego, Jan. 22.

The future amphibious transport dock ship, also known as LPD 27, is the first US Navy ship named soley for the largest city in Oregon. It will be arriving in Portland on April 14 for a public commissioning ceremony on April 21.

According to the Navy, the Portland's arrival at her new Southern California homeport concluded a six-week transit from her building site at Huntington Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. It departed Pascagoula Dec.14 and made port visits to eastern U.S. Naval bases, such as Key West and Mayport, Fla., as well as a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Going out to sea on a new ship is always a challenge, especially with a new crew," Yeoman Chief Petty Officer James Chaney said in a press release announcing the arrival. "Through teamwork and perseverance, the crew mastered our new equipment, conducted numerous training evolutions to build proficiency and set a standard of excellence. Our leadership has the foresight and experience to overcome any major obstacle; whether they are equipment or personnel challenges. The crew has stuck together and overcome every challenge."

During the voyage, the ship also conducted various training operations to include certifying landing craft air cushion (LCAC) operations with Assault Craft Unit 5, and experiencing first-time moments, like passing through the Panama Canal and conducting a "crossing the line" ceremony when the Portland crossed the equator.

"I remain very impressed and blessed with the Sailors of Portland, as they are true professional mariners," said Commanding Officer, Capt. J.R. Hill. "They started as 380 individuals and quickly formed into a crew that consistently achieved their assigned missions and goals to bring Portland safely out of the shipyard to her homeport of San Diego."

The USS Portland will be docked at the Port of Portland, where the commissioning ceremony will be held. The ceremony is free, but tickets must be obtained in advance at the committee's website at www.ussportlandlpd27.org.

The committee is also looking for volunteers to help with the ceremony and activities leading up to it. Contact information is on the website.

The USS Portland was launched on February 13, 2016. It it 684 feet long, and 105 feet wide, the USS Portland displaces 25,000 tons, and will carry 500 to 800 marines on board. In addition to transporting marines, the ship is designed for emergency first-response situations, and in aiding disaster recovery efforts. Other San Antonio class ships were used in an offshore support role after Hurricane Harvey in Houston (USS San Antonio), and after Hurricane Irma in Miami (USS New York). Even the Portland's motto speaks to the importance of this role: "First Responders: Brave and Determined"

To read a previous story on the USS Portland, go to tinyurl.com/y8x6gc2r.

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