With a year to go before it even touches the
water, the Navy's amphibious assault ship USS New York has
already made history. It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel
from the World Trade Center.
USS New York is about 45 percent complete and
should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Katrina disrupted
construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast last summer, but the
684-foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at
the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm.
It is the fifth in a new class of warship -
designed for missions that include special operations against
terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700
combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and
"It would be fitting if the first mission
this ship would go on is to make sure that bin Laden is taken
out, his terrorist organization is taken out," said Glenn
Clement, a paint foreman. "He came in through the back door
and knocked our towers down and (the New York) is coming right
through the front door, and we want them to know that."
Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down
in a foundry in Amite, La., to cast the ship's bow section. When
it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, "those big
rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence,"
recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. "It was a
spiritual moment for everybody there."
Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said
that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it
with his hand and the "hair on my neck stood up."
"It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said.
"They knocked us down. They can't keep us
down. We're going to be back."
The ship's motto? - 'Never Forget'