Friday, September 11, 2009

SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific honors the fallen

Eight years after the events of September 11, 2001, we are still deeply saddened over the tremendous loss of that tragic day. We are mindful that for many, it is still hard to bear the pain that was caused. But, we also know strength can be found through our shared resolve and commitment to the ideals that have always made our nation great.

Three ships of the San Antonio-class, Pre-Commissioning Units New York, Arlington and Somerset, are named in honor of the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and United Flight 93. Not only are these ships named in honor of those communities attacked that day, but these amphibious transport dock ships incorporate materials salvaged from the crash sites.

New York (LPD 21)
• New York honors the 2,752 victims who lost their lives when United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
• The bow stem of the ship was forged from steel from the World Trade Center. New York’s motto, “Strength Forged through Sacrifice. Never Forget,” highlights the significance of this steel to the Navy and the nation.
• The Navy officially accepted delivery of New York from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Aug. 21 at its Avondale shipyard in New Orleans. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned in New York City Nov. 7.

Arlington (LPD 24)
• LPD 24, the eighth ship of the San Antonio class, was named to honor the 184 victims, including 47 Navy Sailors, civilians and retirees, who lost their lives when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
• Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is currently building Arlington at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Arlington’s keel was laid Dec. 18, 2008, where Ron Carlee, the county manager of Arlington, Va., confirmed that the keel was truly and fairly laid. Arlington is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in fiscal year 2012.
• The ship will house a memorial to the Pentagon attacks which will include materials salvaged from the site. Those materials were presented by the Secretary of the Navy to Arlington County officials on Sept. 11, 2008.

Somerset (LPD 25)
• Somerset honors the 40 passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 who prevented the four terrorist hijackers from reaching their destination, and instead forced the airplane to crash in Somerset County, Pa.
• Twenty-two tons of steel from a dragline crane used for coal mining at the southwestern Pennsylvania site where United Flight 93 crashed was melted down and incorporated into the bow stem of Somerset.
• Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding is currently building Somerset at its Avondale yard in New Orleans. A keel authentication ceremony is expected to take place by the end of 2009.

So, when you awake to see the beginning of a new day, when you see an American flag waving in the summer air, remember this - ours is a noble calling to public service, to protect and defend this country that is our home and our blessing.

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