The newest member of the United States Navy, the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), was christened today at Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana.
The fifth ship of the new San Antonio class, the New York already holds a special place in the hearts of Americans because the steel that makes up her bow section includes steel salvaged from the World Trade Center.
Even with the headaches that came along with the first ship in the class (sort of expected with a new design and pretty much ironed out now), these are impressive machines. Designed to bring the Navy and US Marine Corp expeditionary combat capability into the 21st century, the ship was designed with low radar observables and is the first ship fully designed from the CAD-screen up to support all three of the Marine’s primary mobility capabilities – Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) and the MV-22 Osprey.
Welcome to the fleet!
Navy Ship With Steel From World Trade Center Ruins Christened USS New York
Thousands of people, including families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, gathered Saturday for an at-times chilling and rallying service to christen a Navy ship built with twisted steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
The hulking grey USS New York, which abruptly rose from the horizon, bore a seal on the bow bearing 7.5 tons of steel from the site. The shield included two gray bars to symoblize the Twin Towers; a banner over that declared “Never Forget.”
“May God bless this ship and all who sail on her,” ship sponsor, Dotty England, said before smashing a bottle of champagne against it, producing a loud thump to go with the spurting liquid and flying streamers.
Story after story of lives lost, and touched, by the attacks peppered the ceremony, held under the blazing sun and broadcast on large screens.
“To New York, we say thank you for lending your sacred seal, your name,” U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., said. More importantly was that New York lent its spirit, he said.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said ship names provide a legacy, and for their crews, serve as a source of strength and inspiration.
When the attacks occurred, the ship was planned but had no name. It was named the New York at the request of former New York Gov. George Pataki. The steel from the World Trade Center site is in the part of the ship that splices through the water, leading the way.
“It resurrects the ashes, so to speak, to do great things for our nation,” said Bill Glenn, a spokesman for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, the ship builder.
The billion-dollar, 25,000-ton vessel is 684 feet long, 105 feet wide. It can carry about 360 sailors and 700 Marines who can be brought ashore via landing craft and helicopter. Its prospective commanding officer is Commander F. Curtis Jones, a native New Yorker. It is to be commissioned next year, said England’s wife, Dotty England, before the christening.
Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., said Sept. 11th was a turning point in the nation, and will never be forgotten because remnants of the disaster are part of the ship.
“If the USS New York has to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, PCO Jones and his crew … have my full support,” he said to a standing ovation.
Photo credit: AVONDALE, La. (Mar. 1, 2008) Mrs. Dottty England, wife of Deputy Secretary of Defense The Hon. Gordon England, christens the amphibious transport dock Pre-Commissioning Unit New York (LPD 21) at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding New Orleans. U. S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tiffini M. Jones (Released)