The following is the text of a news release from Huntington Ingalls Industries:
(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the amphibious transport dock Portland (LPD 27) on Saturday in front of approximately 1,000 guests.
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Christopher Owens, director of the U.S. Navy’s expeditionary warfare division, was the keynote speaker. “Marines love these ships,” he said. “They are perhaps the most versatile ships in the fleet. And in this current era when the United States faces a variety of threats and potential crises across the globe, LPDs uniquely enable the Navy and Marine Corps team to adapt and respond to a full range of scenarios we might face.”
Portland, the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is named for the largest city in the state of Oregon. The state has a long history with the Navy, going back to the construction of hundreds of World War II Liberty and Victory ships at three Portland area shipyards.
Bonnie Amos, wife of retired Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, is the ship’s sponsor and smashed a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship, officially christening Portland. “Today is about Ingalls shipbuilders,” she said. “Today is about the pride in what has transpired to make this ship, LPD 27, the greatest ship and the best in her class.”
Ingalls has delivered 10 San Antonio-class ships to the Navy with the most recent, John P. Murtha (LPD 26), delivering on May 13. Ingalls has received more than $300 million in advance procurement funding for the 12th ship in the class, Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28).
“Portland is the 11th ship in the San Antonio class, and she is the best LPD to date,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said. “Working closely with our Navy partner, we continue to improve on each ship we build. We’re investing, along with the great state of Mississippi and the Navy, in modernizing our facilities. Combine that with a hot production line and our talented and experienced shipbuilders, and we are uniquely positioned to provide our country with the highest-quality, most capable ships in our Navy’s fleet.”
LPD 27 is the third ship named Portland. The first USS Portland (CA 33) was the lead ship of a new class of heavy cruisers. Launched in 1932, it was named after the city of Portland, Maine, and saw battle during World War II. The second USS Portland (LSD 37), an amphibious landing ship commissioned in 1970, was named after both Portland, Maine, and Oregon. She completed 14 deployments to the Caribbean, Mediterranean and North Atlantic.
“Our number one congressional responsibility is the common defense of this nation,” said Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. “Part of our national defense includes amazing ships like the LPD 27 San Antonio-class amphibious ship. With the daily occurrence of global threats, it’s obvious we don’t need just more ships, but ships that are survivable and capable. After all, they carry America’s most precious treasure, our men and women in uniform.”
The San Antonio class is the latest addition to the Navy’s 21st century amphibious assault force. The 684-foot-long, 105-foot-wide ships are used to embark and land Marines, their equipment and supplies ashore via air cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the MV-22 Osprey. The ships support a Marine Air Ground Task Force across the spectrum of operations, conducting amphibious and expeditionary missions of sea control and power projection to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions throughout the first half of the 21st century.