NEW YORK (NNS) -- Crew members from PCU New York (LPD 21) participated in Fleet Week New York City 2009 to build friendships and relationships before its scheduled commissioning in November 2009.
LPD 21 shares an important tie with her namesake city as seven and a half tons of steel salvaged from the remains of the World Trade Center were shaped into the bow stem of the amphibious transport dock ship.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, then New York Governor George E. Pataki wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England requesting that the Navy revive the name USS New York in honor of the victims of 9/11 and that the name may be given to a surface warship.
When the request was approved, Pataki worked to obtain steel from the World Trade Center as a gift from the citizens of New York to the United States Navy.
"Having the opportunity to incorporate the steel that was recovered from the World Trade Center into the bow of the ship itself is just an incredible message and an incredible feeling," said Cmdr. Curt Jones, future commanding officer of New York. "Where it's been built into the ship is the bow stem, that's the point that actually leads the ship through the water. To know that we've got steel that's from the World Trade Center leading the ship is an extremely powerful message for all of us."
The New York is the fifth ship in the Navy to be named after the Empire State.
"Being a native of New York, I naturally wanted to command the New York," said Jones. "I understand the symbolism of what the New York means to the city as well as to those who serve and protect. The appointment of commanding officer of the New York is the highest honor."
"The New Yorkers that I've met, so far, have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and extremely proud to know that some of the World Trade Center steel has been reused and refurbished into the ship named after the city and state of New York. They have all been very positive about it," said Jones.
The crew has been engaged in community relations projects, interacting with a fire station and visiting the 9/11 Tribute Center during fleet week.
"It's just a fantastic event, lots of Sailors and Marines out there are getting a chance to enjoy and learn about New York City," said Jones. "Everyone is having a great time. We'd just like to thank the city for being such great hosts this week."
The mission of the New York can range from humanitarian aid to full combat. She is an amphibious transport ship capable of carrying a crew of 370, transporting 705 Marines and aircraft to complete missions.
Approximately 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen participated in the 22nd commemoration of Fleet Week New York May 20 - 27.
Fleet week has been the city's way of celebrating sea services, nearly every year, since 1984. It provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see, firsthand, the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
For more news from Navy Office of Community Outreach, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrma/.