Home » News & Analysis » VIDEO: USS Portland Commissioned in Portland, Ore.

VIDEO: USS Portland Commissioned in Portland, Ore.

USS Portland (LPD-27) during sea trials in July 2017 (Navy photo).

USS Portland (LPD-27) during sea trials in July 2017. US Navy photo.

The newest San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, USS Portland (LPD-27), commissioned on Saturday in a ceremony in the ship’s namesake city of Portland, Ore.

Portland will be put to work quickly after being officially commissioned into the fleet: the Navy announced earlier this year Portland would serve as the flagship of this summer’s RIMPAC 2018 international biennial maritime exercise in Hawaii, and then be outfitted with a next-generation Laser Weapon System (LaWS) developed by the Office of Naval Research. After its RIMPAC participation Portland will go into post-shakedown availability, where it will receive the LaWS, and should be ready to begin using the new solid-state laser gun by next summer.

“USS Portland enters service in a period of dynamic security challenges, and I am confident this ship and crew will conquer these and future challenges because of the strength and talent of the sailors and Marines who will serve aboard this ship,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a new release.
“I am certain that USS Portland will proudly represent both the United States and the people of Portland in maritime operations around the world for decades to come.”

Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class ship and is designed to transport and support a force of more than 800 Marines, according to the Navy. Portland was built with both a well deck for launching and recovering landing craft and amphibious vehicles, and a flight deck to handle both helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Initially, the Navy had planned for Portland to be the final San Antonio-class ship to built, but lawmakers added funding for the Navy to purchase two more of the class. Now, the Navy plans to extend the class by purchasing an additional 13 LPDs built with a modified Flight II design, which will serve as the replacement for the aging Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships (LSD-41/49).

Two weeks ago, Portland’s crew hosted family and members of the commissioning committee on a cruise up the Columbia River to Portland, Ore., where the ceremony is being held, from Astoria, Ore., near the Columbia’s mouth on the Pacific coast.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be able to show off the ship and her crew,” Capt. J. R. Hill, Portland’s commanding officer, said in the news release.
“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.”

  • Ed L

    question, did the Navy though they were offending anyone? By never installing the two Mk 41 eight-cell VLS for quad-packed ESSMs (not fitted) on the San Antonio LPD?

    • DaSaint

      Hopefully that will be a mid-life upgrade to comply with the Distributed Lethality concept of operations.

      • The_Usual_Suspect61

        Marines are considered distributed lethality.

        • DaSaint

          As they should be.
          Personally, I’d be in favor of bringing back the days of old when a platoon of Marines (and their gear, plus some RIBs, Zodiacs, or Rigid Raiders) was on every Naval combatant.

    • PolicyWonk

      The space is there for the addition of VLS – and if every ship is to truly be a shooter, and since the service is now supposed to be focusing on capabilities as opposed to numbers (another indication that adding useless, ultra-expensive utility boats to the fleet was a bad idea), then it would seem a good idea to have them installed during construction.

      Maybe their going to install them on what they’re now calling the Flight II’s.

      Sooner would seem better than later.

  • muzzleloader

    Unlike the USS Little Rock, the Portland will not get stuck in ice on the way home.

  • m m

    It’s been awhile since this Devil Dog was serving in the 31st MAU., so forgive the naive sense of the questions. Basically, the LPD seems basically the same as the ones in our unit. (I can only recall the names of the LPH’s however, Tripoli and Okinawa). Obviously, the weapons system, and many other technology advances have made for incredible upgrades, and I know better than to ask about that.
    I am curious about the Flight II design. Is the flight deck bigger?
    What are the biggest, or most drastic changes?

    And I was under the impression that there was going to be time for tours while in Portland. I was hoping to see it myself, since it does bare the name of my hometown.

    Also, What is the unit of Marines, as a force, a MEU? Is there a difference other than the name, as the MAU was to us?

    Semper Fi.

    • Chesapeakeguy

      The Flight 2s will differ from the Flight 1s in some details, like the 2s will have more conventional masts, and the 2s will have a newer radar setup. I think the MEU vice the MAU are relatively the same overall. The differences, as I understand them, are minor.

  • BMC retired

    Portland is full of anarchists, let’s hope the ceremony isn’t disrupted by those who wish to destroy

    • Zorcon, Fidei Defensor

      They will be to busy getting stoned on 4-20?