Navy Ship New York Girded By Steel From Twin Towers

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Washington Times
March 1, 2008
Pg. 1
By Jennifer Harper, Washington Times
It is sleek, mighty and gleaming silver as a Manhattan dawn. But this is a warship with real inner mettle. When the USS New York is christened today in Louisiana with a splash of champagne and a hearty cheer, few will overlook its motto: "Never forget."
This brand new transport dock ship is bolstered with more than 7 tons of steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
"This is unique. To my knowledge, I don't know of any other case in which symbolic materials associated with an event of historic magnitude have been used in a Navy vessel," said historian Jack Green of the Naval Historic Center.
"This ship is important to the Navy and important to the sailors who will man it. The USS New York will project American power all over the world, supporting the cause of freedom and doing it in a way that honors the courage of the heroes and victims of September 11," said Cmdr. Jeff Davis.
She is a big girl: The New York is 684 feet long, tasked to support the amphibious, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions of the Marine Corps. And it is quite capable of transporting a landing force of up to 800.
The steel will always be near, right below their boots.
Securing its destiny has taken time, though. The fire-scourged metal — pulled from the rubble of the Twin Towers shortly after September 11 — was melted down in a Louisiana forge almost five years ago and molded into a great hunk labeled "Unit 1120," which would one day comprise the actual bow stem of the New York. Steelworkers at the Amite Foundry treated the metal with reverence; it was "a spiritual moment," according to press accounts at the time.
Navy engineers inspected and cleared the reclaimed steel for use and the piece was affixed to the hull about a year ago — itself a patriotic act. Suspended from cranes, the huge component was draped with an American flag as it descended majestically through the air to its final spot out front.
About 5,000 people are expected at today's ceremony at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' shipyard on the west bank of the Mississippi River, some 20 miles upriver from New Orleans.
"We're excited, but we're humbled by the fact that this ship memorializes 9/11, and the strength and resiliency of the people of New York. As this ship cuts through the water, the steel will be leading the way," said Bill Glenn, a Northrop Grumman spokesman.
The ship's name also has quite a pedigree: This is the fifth "New York" to sail the seas. The first was a gondola that served in 1776; the second, a frigate that served 1800 to 1814; the third, an armored cruiser that served 1893 to 1938, although it was renamed in 1911; and the fourth, a battleship that served 1914 to 1946, according to Navy records.
Former New York Gov. George E. Pataki initially requested that a Navy surface ship active in the war on terror be named to honor September 11 victims; the idea was approved in 2002.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England will preside over today's ceremony; his wife Dotty will stand shoulder to shoulder with the hull, and in time-honored Navy tradition, break a bottle of champagne across the rejuvenated steel. The USS New York will spend the next year being completed, worked up and commissioned for service next year, and is scheduled to sail out of Norfolk.
The ship is not the only revered repository of World Trade Center steel, however.
In the past six years, New York officials have meted out several tons of the rescued metal to more than 100 groups across the nation for use as memorials — including a new church bell tower in New Mexico, a meditation site at a Tennessee high school and a remembrance statue at Manhattan's Port Authority.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology was given a rumpled portion directly hit by the aircraft that crashed into the North Tower to use in its investigation of the building's collapse that day.
"It is very sobering to be around this steel. It has a story to tell, and every piece of it is worth a thousand words," spokesman Michael Newman told The Washington Times in 2002.
The USS New York
The New York is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship named to honor both heroes and victims of September 11. Its 7-ton bow stem is made from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center wreckage.
Motto: "Never Forget."
Length: 684 feet
Beam: 105 feet
Weight: 24,900 tons
Crew: 28 officers and 332 enlisted Navy personnel; three Marines
Power: Four Colt-Pielstick turbo-charged diesel engines.
Sustainable speed: More than 22 knots
Aircraft: Four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.
Armament: Two 30 mm close-in guns, two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers.
Troops: Can land up to 800 Marines
Transport: Two aircushion landing crafts (LCACs); 14 Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles.
Commander: Cmdr. F. Curtis Jones
Homeport: Norfolk, starting in 2009
Source: U.S. Navy
Ship built with WTC steel christened
By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press Writer
Sat Mar 1, 6:41 PM ET

The USS New York, an amphibious assault ship built with scrap steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center, was christened Saturday as a source of strength and inspiration for the nation.

Thousands of people, including friends and families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, gathered near the hulking gray ship, trimmed in red, white and blue banners.

The bow stem, which contains 7.5 tons of steel from the site, bore a shield with two gray bars to symbolize the twin towers and a banner over that declaring "Never Forget," a slogan among New Yorkers.

"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 in, and touched by, the attacks peppered the ceremony, held under the blazing sun and broadcast on large screens. It all brought back painful memories for New York Police Lt. Matt Murphy. But the reason for his being here, though, was a source of pride, he said.

"I tell you, it's a fantastic day. Sometimes you think you're over something," he said, his eyes welling up as he looked off toward the ship, "and then you realize you're not completely."

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told the crowd that ship names provide a legacy, and that for their crews they serve as a source of strength and inspiration.

When the attacks occurred, the ship was planned but had no name. Then-New York Gov. George Pataki asked the Navy to commemorate the disaster by reviving the name New York. That required an exception to Navy policy of assigning state names only to nuclear submarines.

The steel from the towers is now 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.

Along with the steel from one of the worst terrorist attacks in the U.S., it also survived one of the nation's worst natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina.

The ship motivated many of the Avondale shipyard workers to return to the job, even though many lost their homes in the 2005 storm.

The billion-dollar, 25,000-ton vessel is 684 feet long, 105 feet wide. It is the fifth in a new class of warship, designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It can carry a crew of about 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

USS New York's prospective commanding officer is Cmdr. F. Curtis Jones, a native New Yorker. It is to be commissioned, essentially added to the fleet, next year. It could be used as part of peaceful missions or as part of war, said Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy's chief of operations.

That it could be used in war did not bother Lee Ielpi, president of the September 11th Families' Association, whose son, Jonathan, a firefighter, died in the attacks. The ship won't be used for war "unless you bother us," he said in an interview.

"We're sending a message that we're standing strong," he said, adding: "This ship, as it cuts through the water, is going to send a ripple. That ripple will say, 'We cherish our freedom.'"

Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., said Sept. 11 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.