Charleston native serves aboard future Navy warship

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Britney N. Odom

SAN DIEGO - A Charleston, South Carolina, native is serving aboard the future USS Portland, an amphibious warship to be homeported in San Diego.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jabari Harrison is a gunner’s mate responsible forweapon upkeep and maintenance.

“The best part about my job is shooting and cleaning weapons,” said Harrison. “I like issuing small arms to fellow shipmates to serve and protect the ship as well as training person to prove their marksmanship.”

Portland is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship that embarks, transports, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. These ships provide the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms.

Amphibious transport dock ships support amphibious assault; special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice as well.

Harrison has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“Growing up in my hometown taught me time management and the importance of respect,” said Harrison.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Portland. More than 400 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 700 Marines can be embarked. Portland is capable of transporting the Marines and landing them where they are needed via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and landing craft.

“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy was being promoted and deploying overseas,” said Harrison. “Being deployed allowed me to see different countries and explore the world.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships, Harrison and other Portland sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team.

“Serving in the Navy means creating a better future for myself and others,” said Harrison.

Portland, the third Navy ship named to honor both the Oregon seaport and Maine’s largest city, will be commissioned on April 21 in its Oregon namesake city. During a commissioning ceremony the warship will be officially placed into active service. The ceremony includes “bringing the ship to life” and other orders rooted in centuries old naval tradition.

For information about the commissioning, visit ussportlandlpd27.org.