The USS New York is most notable for having a huge amount of steel within its make up from the remnants of the World Trade Center buildings, destroyed on September 11, 2001. The San Antonio class amphibious transport dock is the fifth US Navy ship to be named after the state of New York, and has a crew of 360, with capabilities to carry up to 700 marines.
This ship was the first of its kind to be designed from a CAD screen in order to support all of the Marine’s primary mobility capabilities, the Landing Craft Air Cushion and MV-22B Osprey aircraft.
Governor of New York George E. Pataki wrote a letter to Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England not long after the attacks on September 11, 2001, requesting that the Navy bestow the name “New York” on a surface warship that was involved in the War on Terrorism in honor of all the victims of 9/11.
The New Orleans based business, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, was awarded the contract to build “New York” in 2003. At the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the “New York” was still under construction.
7.5 short tons (6.8t) of the World Trade Center’s steel was used in the construction of the ship, less than a 1,000th of the total weight of the New York. At Amite Foundry and Machine, Louisiana, the steel was melted down to form the ship’s bough. Seven short tons was then poured into the molds on September 9, 2003, to form the stem bar, part of the ship’s bough. Reportedly workers treated the steel with “reverence usually accorded to religious relics”, touching it very gently as they passed by it. One worker delayed his 40 year retirement just to be part of the project.
England announced on September 9, 2004, that two of the New York’s sister ships would be named Arlington and Somerset in commemoration of the two places where planes went down on September 11, 2001: Arlington County, Virginia and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In a ceremony at Avondale shipyard in New Orleans, the New York was christened on March 1, 2008. The ship’s sponsor, Dotty England, smashed a traditional bottle of champagne on the ship’s bough. While the first attempt to smash the bottle was not successful, the second was. Several dignitaries attended the christening, including the Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, Louisiana Congressman William J. Jefferson, members of the New York Police and Fire Departments and members of the victims’ families from 9/11.
On August 21, 2009, the New York was delivered to the Navy, where it was accepted by Commander F. Curtis Jones, USN, a native of Binghamton, New York. The ship set sail for Norfolk, Virginia on October 13, 2009. Along it’s path the ship passed the site of the World Trade Center attacks on November 2, 2009, and gave the site a 21-gun salute.