Phenix City native serves aboard future Navy warship

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A 2016 Smiths Station High School graduate and Phenix City native is serving aboard the USS Portland, an amphibious warship to be homeported in San Diego.

Seaman Dylan Turner is an undesignated seaman responsible for hazardous material and chemicals.

“The best part of the job is working with the people,” said Turner. “The Navy is so diverse and you see people from all walks of life.”

 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.

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

“My hometown taught me Southern hospitality,” said Turner. “I think good manners have definitely helped.”

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.

Turner has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfathers on both sides were in the Army,” said Turner. “I had an uncle who served in the Navy.”

“My proudest accomplishment is being eligible to strike into a job,” said Turner. “It gives me the chance to get promoted and continue to serve.”

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

“Serving in the Navy means being able to have a nice job while helping people and being able to continue my family’s military tradition,” said Turner.

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