USS New York (LPD-21) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock and the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named after the state of New York.
The USS New York was built using 24 tonnes of scrap steel from the World Trade Centre, which collapsed during the 911 terror attacks in 2001.
It was designed to carry a crew of 360 sailors, with 700 combat-ready Marines who could be left at shores by helicopters and assault ships.
“Every ship in the Navy has a namesake room or a legacy room, but on our ship, the whole ship is a legacy to what happened,” Command Master Chief Ben Hodges said.
How USS New York was made?
The scrap had been located at the Staten Island landfill, and it is believed to have been from the south tower. On Veterans Day 2002, the Intrepid Air-Sea-Space Museum presented it on behalf of the City of New York to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, according to the Navy.
Navy engineers determined it was possible to use thousands of pounds of the salvaged steel for the bow stem casting, and the molten steel was cast Sept. 9, 2003, at the Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, La. The steel was treated and about 7.5 tons of it was smelted for the part of the ship that cuts through the water.
A steel plate recovered from the Trade Center rubble is on display above one of the most-used passageways. A firefighter’s helmet reminds sailors of the first responders who sprung into action.
Hodges said the reminders extend to the ship’s daily prayer ritual, for which the chaplain chooses the name of someone who died in the attacks to honor. It all makes it impossible to forget Sept. 11, he said.
“We talk to all of our sailors when they initially check in and explain to them the significance of what they are a part of,” Hodges said. “You can’t help when you walk around the ship to notice all the things meant to remind you of why you serve.”
How USS New York Was Named?
The secretary of the Navy is in charge of naming all future Navy vessels, so part of Wensing’s job at the time was to read through thousands of letters asking for specific names.
He said the idea to name the ship for New York came just a few days after the attacks. The USS Arlington and USS Somerset were named for the Virginia home of the bomb-damaged Pentagon and the Pennsylvania county where United Flight 93 crashed.
Wensing said the decision to name vessels after the attack locations was easy, but it was much harder to decide what types of ships would get the names.
Submarines are usually the only vessels named for states, Wensing said, but it’s extremely difficult to get civilians on board subs for tours. So because the New York, Arlington and Somerset would be vessels with frequent tour requests, it was imperative that they were surface ships.
There’s another specific reason why they are all San Antonio-class amphibious transport ships. Wensing said the secretary wanted the ships to be vessels that housed both Navy sailors and Marines, so the transport ships made perfect sense.
Although the New York is often toured by civilians, Tuesday’s ceremony is not open to the public, Hodges said.
But he said on the anniversary of the attacks everyone should be reminded of the ship’s motto: “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.”