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LPD-21 New York

The Navy commissioned the San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship New York, during a Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009 ceremony, in New York City. The ship is named New York in honor of the state and the courage and heroism of New Yorkers during and after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. A unique characteristic of the ship is the use of 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center wreckage that was incorporated into the construction process. The steel was melted and formed to make the bow stem of the ship. Use of this steel symbolizes the spirit and resiliency of the people of New York. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, also delivered remarks. Dotty England, wife of former secretary of the Navy and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, served as the ship’s sponsor.

The Navy christened the newest San Antonio class amphibious transport dock ship New York (LPD 21) on Saturday, March 1, 2008, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facilities in New Orleans, LA. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England delivered the ceremony’s principal address. His wife, Mrs. Dotty England served as the ship’s sponsor.

The LPD 21 USS New York was built at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Avondale Division, New Orleans, Louisiana. Initially, construction of New York (LPD 21) was planned to begin in mid-2003, with launch planned in mid-2005, and delivery by the end of 2006. The ship was ordered in November 2003, with a contract delivery date of August 2007. It was was launched December 19, 2007. As of mid-2008, contracted delivery was April 2009, with comissioning possible on September 11th, 2009

The 684-foot-long amphibious transport dock ship will be built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in New Orleans and carry a Navy crew of 363 and 699 Marines. The ship will be used to transport and land Marines, their equipment and supplies by embarked air cushions or conventional landing craft or amphibious vehicles, augmented by helicopters or vertical take off and landing aircraft in amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions.

The ship will also incorporate the latest quality of life standards for the embarked sailors and Marines, including the sit-up berth, ship services mall, a fitness center and learning resource center and electronic classroom with the flexibility to accommodate mixed gender sailors and Marines as part of the crew and embarked troops. The design team also incorporated hundreds of suggestions and recommendations from more than 1,000 sailors and Marines in the Design for Ownership process to ensure that this ship will meet their needs throughout the first half of the 21st century.

At a ceremony held Saturday, Sept. 7, at 9:30 a.m. aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York Harbor, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England announced his decision to name the fifth ship of the San Antonio class of Amphibious Transport Dock ships, "New York," to honor the state, the city and the victims of Sept. 11. The Secretary was joined by New York Gov. George Pataki and many other leaders from the city and state of New York. However, the Northrop Grumman website says "The ship was named New York after the state" with no mention of New York City.

In doing so Secretary England noted that longstanding relationship between the U.S. Navy and people of New York. "USS New York will project American power to the far corners of the earth and support the cause of freedom well into the 21st century," England said. "From the war for independence through the war on terrorism, which we wage today, the courage and heroism of the people of New York have been an inspiration. Today, thousands of New Yorkers serve with America's Navy and Marine Corps at home and abroad protecting America's interest and promoting peace, security and stability around the world. These dedicated young Americans are the strength of our military and our nation. USS New York will play an important role in our Navy's future and will be a fitting tribute to the people of The Empire State," England said.

New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thanked the U.S. Navy for honoring all New Yorkers by naming this ship. Governor George E. Pataki wrote a letter to Secretary England requesting that the Navy revive the name USS New York in honor of September 11's victims and to give it a surface warship involved in the war on terror. In his letter, the Governor said he understood state names presently are reserved for submarines but asked for special consideration so the name could be given to a surface ship. The request was approved August 28, 2002.

Governor Pataki hailed the Secretary's decision to name a new LPD-17 class amphibious transport dock the USS New York in honor of the heroes who died on September 11, as well as to honor the courage and compassion shown by countless New Yorkers in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

"The USS New York will ensure that all New Yorkers and the world will never forget the evil attacks of September 11, and the courage and compassion New Yorkers showed in response to terror," said Governor Pataki. "I want to thank Secretary England for taking this extraordinary step and agreeing to pay special tribute to all New Yorkers by giving our name to a ship that will play an important role in the war on terror," the Governor said. "In addition, I look forward to the USS New York's first visit to our great City and State for Fleet Week."

Later in 2002 a decision was made to attempt to use salvaged steel from the World Trade Center debris in the construction of LPD 21. On November 11, 2002 at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, a representative from the Port Authority and a contingent of former seamen from the USS Intrepid presented a 200-pound girder from the World Trade Center to the Navy for use in the construction of the New York. Eventually tons of steel were transported to the shipbuilder, Northrop Grumman Ship's Systems.

A bow-stem is the foremost section of the hull on the water line that slices through the water. It is the leading edge of the ship as it moves through the water and after the keel, the stem is the most important structural part of a ship. At first it was thought that only a few pounds of World Trade Center Steel could be used, but the Material and Environmental Engineering group engineers from the Naval Sea Systems Command studied steel's chemistry reports, evaluated the data against technical manuals and specifications, and determined that thousands of pounds of World Trade Center steel could be used.

In 2003, Amite Foundry and Machine in Amite, LA, a subcontractor to the shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, performed the casting, pouring the molten steel into the bow stem mold. On that occasion, acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson said," "The spirit of the World Trade Center towers and the fierce pride we feel as Americans is being poured into a new beginning, a new life, for USS New York. This ship represents a new use of the steel that once stood as a mighty symbol of our nation's strength and economic vitality. The strength of those we lost and will always remember has been forged in the steel of this ship that will be carried in its bow.

In 2005 Northrop Grumman installed the 7.5 ton bow stem into the main hull of New York and in 2006 the remainder of the bow section, all 311 tons, was lifted into place.

Previous Ships

Six previous ships have been named New York. There was also a nuclear powered attach submarine, USS New York City (SSN 696) that was commissioned in 1979 and decommissioned in 1997. LPD 21 will be the longest and widest ship to bear the name New York and within 2,000 tons of having the same displacement as the battleship.

Gondola: Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold built the first New York, a gondola, to support his campaign on Lake Champlain in 1776. Built that summer, the gondola, with one 12 pounder and two 9 pounder guns plus 8 swivels, was part of the flotilla that battled the British on 11 October 1776 at the Battle of Valcour Island. While this was a tactical defeat, the American ships survived to fight again two days later, when Arnold was finally forced to burn the New York and her sister ships to avoid capture near Crown Point, New York. Although a defeat for Arnold and the American forces, the action delayed the British drive toward New York until 1777 when they would meet defeat at the Battle of Saratoga.

Frigate: Built in New York City and funded by the citizens of New York, the second New York was a 36-gun frigate. Commissioned in October 1800 and commanded by Captain Richard V. Morris, it was one of five frigates built to supplement the original six frigates to include the Constitution. New York escorted merchant ships to the Caribbean during the "quasi-war" with France in 1800-1801. In November 1802, the ship sailed to the Mediterranean where New York served as flagship in the war against the Barbary Pirates. In two engagements the ship participated in driving off Tripolitan gunboats. New York returned to the Washington Navy Yard in 1803 where she remained for 11 years until the British burned the ship on 24 August 1814.

Ship-of-the-Line: After the War or 1812, Congress authorized the construction of 9 ships of the line as a potential deterrent to future war with Britain. War never came and so the New York, whose keel was laid in 1820 and was ready for launching in 1825, never left the stocks. On 20 April 1861, this 74-gun ship-of-the-line was burned by Union forces to avoid capture by encroaching Virginians at the start of the Civil War.

Screw Sloop: Originally named Ontario, this ship was laid down in 1863, but never launched. It was renamed New York in 1869, but was sold while still on the stocks in 1888.

Armored Cruiser #2,(CA 2): Laid down in 1890, the armored cruiser New York was commissioned in August 1893. She served as flagship of the South Atlantic Squadron and then was in the North Atlantic Squadron when the Spanish-American War began. New York was Admiral Sampson's flagship in the Battle of Santiago when the American Squadron destroyed the Spanish fleet. New York later served as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet and as part of the Pacific Squadron. Modernized in 1905-1909, the ship steamed in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic fleets before being renamed Saratoga in 1911. (When construction began of the battleship New York). Saratoga helped capture 32 German agents off of Mexico in 1917 and, after being renamed Rochester in late 1917 escorted convoys in World War I. After the war Rochester continued to operate until decommissioned in the Philippines in 1933. The Americans scuttled her in December 1941 to avoid capture.

Battleship BB 34: On 11 September 1911, the battleship USS New York was laid down and commissioned on 15 April 1914. The battleship served as flagship of Battleship Division 9 in World War I supporting the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea with blockade and escort missions. New York was present when the German High Seas Fleet surrendered on 21 November 1918. Between wars, the New York served primarily in the Pacific Fleet until 1935, before transferring to the Atlantic Fleet. At the start of World War II, New York escorted convoys before providing gunfire support in the Invasion of North Africa on November 8, 1942. Following this action, the ship trained gunners and providing training cruises for the Naval Academy until transferring to the Pacific Fleet in 1945. New York participated in a pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima, firing more 14" rounds than any other ship present. In March 1945 New York provided gunfire support for the invasion of Okinawa and was grazed by a kamikaze. USS New York earned three battle stars for World War II service. After the War, USS New York participated in the Bikini atomic tests in 1946, surviving both an underwater and an air blast. She was decommissioned on 29 August 1946. On July 8 1948 she was sunk off of Pearl Harbor as a target ship.

Ship's Crest

The ship's crest depicts seven rays of sunlight signify both the crown atop the Statue of Liberty and the seven seas. The central focus placed on the Twin Towers and the bow of the ship, forged from the towers' steel. The breastplate of the phoenix bears the colors of first responders from the New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Blood drops represent the fallen. The three stars represent those earned by the battleship USS NEW YORK (BB34) in World War II at Iwo Jima, Okinawa and North Africa.

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