USS Portland launched, local commissioning ceremony still sought
The future USS Portland was successfully launched at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Mississippi on Feb. 13.
Local members of the Portland Council of the Navy League are still recruiting supporters to convince the US Navy to have the ship commissioned in Portland.
The commissioning ceremony of a Navy ship is steeped in a time-honored tradition that places a ship in active service. Prior to commissioning, the USS Portland will undergo sea trials to identify any deficiencies needing correction. Commissioning marks the date when the ship is assigned to fleet duties, says Mike Hewlett, chair of the PCNL, an international organization of civilians that supports the maritime services, including the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine.
A previous story on the local efforts can be found atportlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/277781-151902-pursuing-the-uss-portland.
For the launch, the ship a San Antonio-class amphibious transport vessel also known as the LPD (Landing Platform Dock) 27 was transferred from the land level facility to the drydock, which was then flooded allowing her to float off the blocks.
"Every milestone in the construction of a ship is significant, but seeing the ship float out of drydock is visually one of my favorites," said Capt. Darren Plath, LPD 17 Class program manager, Program Executive Office, ships. "I'm looking forward to sea trials, delivery and other exciting milestones."
LPD 17 class ships like the USS Portland are designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing elements of over 800 Marines with both a flight deck which accommodates CH-53 helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and a well deck that can launch and recover landing craft and amphibious vehicles.
According to the Navy, they 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 groups, expeditionary strike groups or joint task forces. In addition to performing their primary mission, San Antonio class ships have supported anti-piracy operations, provided humanitarian assistance, and foreign disaster relief operations around the world.
The USS Portland will be the 11th San Antonio class ship delivered by Huntington Ingalls Industries, which is also currently in the final stages of production on the future John P Murtha (LPD 26).
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft, the Navy says.