NEW YORK --
Eight years, two months and 22 days after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center pulled into port Monday after being forged into the bow of the Navy’s newest Landing Platform Dock, USS New York, which will be commissioned Saturday.
Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 26 and sailors from the USS New York lined the outer edges of the ship in a time honored tradition as the ship sailed up the Hudson River. Despite light rain and a chilling breeze, the Marines said they were proud to take part in such a historic event.
“Manning the rails was an awesome experience. It was especially humbling when we passed the site of Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty. That‘s when it really hit me, why we are here,” said Sgt. Jennifer Filaro, a radio operator with SPMAGTF-26. “It’s truly an honor to be a part of the ship’s commissioning knowing that it has and will touch so many who were involved in 9/11.”
Alternating between Marines and sailors along the railing symbolized the Navy-Marine Corps team.
“It was an honor to stand side by side with my brothers and sisters in arms,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Lisa Ceron, SPMAGTF-26 corpsman. “Manning the rails was definitely something that I will not soon forget.”
The Navy and Marine Corps have been working together since 1775 and the new ship will help take that teamwork to a new level in the 21st century. Improvements can be found throughout the ship, and it is these changes that will expand the Marine commander’s options when deciding how to execute any given mission.
The larger well deck provides more space and maneuverability for amphibious craft, including two Landing Craft Air Cushioned versus older LPDs, which only had room for one. The ship also has a larger flight deck able to accommodate all Marine rotor and tilt-rotor aircraft, which the older classes could not. USS New York also boasts an aircraft hanger, not available on older LPDs.
There were also improvements to the berthing and living quarters.
“The racks are great because you can sit up and it accommodates more of our personal gear,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Bridgette Jesop, an operations specialist with Command Amphibious Squad 2. “It adds a lot of comfort.”
The ship, the crew and the Marines will be in New York for about a week for commissioning events and public tours.