NBC Nightly News Broadcasts Live From USS Portland

by Petty Officer 1st Class Woody Paschall, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
12 October 2018
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Photo By: Petty Officer 1st Class Woody Pa
VIRIN: 210115-N-N0831-0107
  

Lester Holt anchored and episode of NBC Nightly News live from the flight deck of USS Portland (LPD 27) at Naval Base San Diego on Oct. 12.

The broadcast from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship capped off Holt's Across America tour where he visited five cities in five days including Houston; Montgomery, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri.

"We want to thank Capt. Rodriguez and the crew of the Portland for letting us come on board, see what they do every day to protect our country," said Holt. "It's a great finish to our Across America journey. we've met a lot of great people, doing a lot of great things in our community and inspiring all of us."

Holt said he wanted to broadcast from USS Portland to showcase the Navy's relationship to the city of San Diego, but for the ship's commanding officer, the connection is with every town in the nation and his pride in his ship and crew was evident.

"I'm from El Paso, Texas, went to the Naval Academy, went to flight school, commanded a squadron of helicopters and now I'm here commanding this ship. It has been an amazing experience. It has been a lifelong dream," said Capt. Jesus A. Rodriguez.

This has already been an eventful year for the ship. Portland was commissioned; participated in the Rim of the Pacific 2018, the world's largest naval exercise; and won this year's Surface Line Week, a competition among every San Diego-based ship; and some members of the crew were excited to show off the ship's capabilities.

"It's pretty cool. It lets the world know a lot about the Navy and what we do," said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Luis Morales, a New York native. "I think being a newer ship there's a lot of expectations and hopefully we get to meet those expectations, if not surpass them."

Holt's visit came a day before the Navy's 243rd birthday and after the broadcast, he joined the crew for the ceremonious cake cutting.

"On behalf of all of my colleagues at NBC Nightly News, I just want to wish the U.S. Navy a happy 243rd birthday," Holt said.
 
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