The pre-commissioned USS Portland arrived at Naval Base San Diego Monday after a six-week journey from Mississippi.
It’s an emotional visit for families like the Vest's from San Diego whose son Liam is battling leukaemia. The little warrior was among the crowd as he anxiously awaited his father's arrival from USS Portland.
“It’s been a long few months with our son's treatment, it's been intense, luckily there was lots of Facetiming and opportunity to speak with him,” said Allison Vest, Liam’s mom. “So, that made him better. I'm so excited to have him home.”
The USS Portland is an amphibious transport dock, also known as a landing platform/dock (LPD). It is 684 feet long and displaces 25,000 tons. The ship recently visited eastern U.S. Naval bases like Key West and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“It’s amazing,” Jacob Aldrich, a sailor aboard USS Portland said. “There are a lot of working parts, and there's always a watch doing what needs to be done.”
After Aldrich exchanged the first kiss with his wife, the couple said they are happy to be reunited, for now.
“I’m good and relieved,” Lorie Aldrich said, “It’s a lot of responsibility on my own and it's nice to have him home.”
The ship will be undergoing routine maintenance in San Diego until late April, which is when the ship's formal commissioning ceremony will be held in Portland.