With a year to go before it officially enters service, the Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS New York has already made history…  It was built with 24 tons of steel from the World Trade Center.

The New York is about 45 percent complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. 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 assault craft.

"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 she (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"

The USS New York is one of several ships in the San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships. They are designed to transport and land troops, supplies, and equipment such as amphibious vehicles and helicopters. Designated as LPD. It is one of three similar ships that are being built and being given names that are associated with The Attack on America.  In addition to the USS New York, the USS Arlington will be named because of the location of the Pentagon, which was hit by American Airlines flight 77.  The USS Somerset will be named after the county in Pennsylvania in which United flight 93 crashed after being taken over by hijackers.

The ship is being built in New Orleans.  Twenty-four tons of steel from the World Trade Center have been recycled for the project.  About seven tons were melted down and poured into a cast to make the bow section of the ship’s hull.  The steel has been treated with reverence by the ship builders and several workers have postponed retirements for the honor of working on the USS New York.

According to Naval records, several other ships have carried the name the USS New York. This new ship got the name the USS New York when New York governor George Pataki wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gordon England and requested that the Navy approve of the name in honor of the victims of September 11 and on ships that will be used to fight the war on terror.