July 8, 2009:
The U.S. Navy is soliciting donations for the ships silver (www.ussny.org) for the new amphibious ship (USS New York, LPD 21) named in memory of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York city. Like the regimental silver of army units, the ships ceremonial silver collection grows larger as new pieces are added to commemorate notable events in the history of the ship. Ships silver is passed on to the next ship of the same name.
There have been many U.S. Navy ships named "New York." The first was an armed gondola built to serve on Lake Champlain in 1776. In 1800, the USS New York was a 36 gun frigate, which was destroyed by the British in 1814. In 1893, the USS New York was an armored cruiser (ACR-2), that was renamed USS Saratoga in 1911. That was so the next USS New York, a battleship (BB-34), could enter service with the name in 1914 (and be decommissioned in 1946). For over sixty years, there has been no USS New York. The new ship has silver inherited from ACR-2 and BB-34, but the set is incomplete, and donors can buy pieces for the ship, and have their name, or a dedication to someone, engraved on it. Tiffany, in New York, does much of the ships silver for the U.S. Navy, and will be creating the pieces for the LPD-21.
The 24,900 ton USS New York is the fifth of the "San Antonio" class Amphibious Transport Dock ships and was named on 9 September 2002, in honor of those who died in 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. She carries scrap steel from the World Trade Center towers, melted down and recast as metal for her bow. Construction of the $800 million vessel began in late 2004 and she will be commissioned on November 9th this year. The Navy plans for her to see duty until mid-century.
The ship is 684 feet long. It has a crew of 360, and normally 720 marines and all their equipment are carried. There is 25,000 square feet for vehicle storage and a 24 bed hospital, with two operating rooms and the ability to set up another hundred beds in an emergency. Onboard weapons include two Bushmaster II 30mm Close In Guns and two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers to defend against anti-ship missiles. The ship is designed to carry and use two LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle), and 14 of the new AAAV (Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle), or the current AAV. The MV-22 (Osprey tiltrotor aircraft), as well as current helicopters, can operate off the ships flight deck. This class of LPD replaces four other classes of amphibious ships (LPD 4, LSD 36, LST 1179 and LKA 113).