This blog is written by the Commanding Officer of USS New York (LPD 21), Capt. Jon Kreitz. New York is part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group and is currently deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
From the very moment I stepped on board New York, I sensed that there was something different about this ship. It is true that she is fairly new and clean, she is on her maiden deployment, and is the namesake for the great state of New York, but there is something else entirely different about New York that you will not be able to find anywhere else, but on the grounds where the Twin Towers once stood. This is something in the hearts of those who were forever affected 11 years ago, a solemn promise that we will “Never Forget.”
Not only is there seven and a half tons of steel from the World Trade Center in our bow stem, but in every corner of New York, there are tokens of remembrance; from pictures of fallen New York City policemen to a New York Fire Department firefighter’s helmet. When the days get monotonous and the crew becomes weary, sometimes all it takes is to look up, and instead of seeing only lagging, you see a symbol of something bigger than yourself. New York was not built to be a vessel of mourning, but rather a living, breathing symbol of what our country has come together to build in the days after. New York is 26,000 tons of power projection. Our presence is now serving halfway across the world, and with every nautical mile we travel, we are able to share not only the ship’s story, but the stories of the many Americans who either gave their lives or shared in the grief.
Every Sailor and Marine has a purpose, a commitment and an obligation to our country. We all serve to never forget, and serve in order to maintain a strong legacy of warfighting first. 9/11 is not just a memory, but a reason to continue our desire to serve—to be ready as we operate forward to defend our great country. And that’s what my crew aboard USS New York and I are doing.
Thank you to all who serve and to all who support our efforts in making our country’s Navy the most effective global force for good in history.
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