The history of naming U.S. Navy ships "New York" goes back to the Revolution and has a proud heritage that continues today. USS New York (LPD 21) is the fifth ship in the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, and the sixth ship of the U.S. Navy to be named after the great state of New York. The USS New York was built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems of New Orleans, Louisiana. The contract was awarded in 2003 and the ship was christened on March 1, 2008, at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans by the former Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England's wife and ships sponsor Dotty England.
Three San Antonio-class warships were named to commemorate the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, when 2,760 people lost their lives in New York City. The other two ships will be named USS Arlington (LPD 24) and USS Somerset (LPD 25). A special tribute to the people that died on 9/11 is the 7 1/2 tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center and cast as USS New York's bow stem.
The USS New York was commissioned on Nov. 7, 2009, during a ceremony that was held in New York City.
Through American history, there have been several warships named USS New York, and each one played a part in establishing America's legacy of defending freedom.
Battleship (BB 34) — In 1911, a battleship took the name "New York." Following flagship duty in WWI, it was transferred to the Pacific, then back to the Atlantic in 1935. The ship's crew supported the invasion of North Africa in 1942, returned to the Pacific for the bombardment of Iwo Jima, and was used in atomic tests after WWII. The ship was eventually decommissioned in 1946, earning one battle star each for Iwo Jima, Okinawa and North Africa.
Armored Cruiser (CA2) — Commissioned in 1893, it served as flagship of the U.S. South Atlantic squadron at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The ship served as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet in the early 1900s, assisting in the destruction of the Spanish Fleet, before being named Saratoga. The ship played important roles in World Wars I and II and participated in atomic tests in 1946. The ship was decommissioned later that year.
Screw Sloop — This steam-powered single-master started out as the Ontario in 1863, and was renamed New York in 1869 and was sold in 1888 after never leaving port. The ship never served in war.
Ship-of-the-Line — One of nine such vessels ordered by Congress after the War of 1812, this 74-gun New York was completed in 1825 but never saw active duty. Near the start of the Civil War, Union forces destroyed the ship rather than let it fall into the hands of Confederate Troops approaching from Virginia.
Frigate — This 36-gun vessel was commissioned in October 1800 and was commanded by Capt. Richard V. Morris. Along with five other frigates, the ship protected merchantmen en route to the Caribbean during a period of military tension with France in 1800-1801. The ship saw action between 1802-1803, only to be burned in harbor by the British at the culmination of the War of 1812.
Gondola — Commissioned by Gen. Benedict Arnold in 1776, the first New York was a gondola featuring one 12 and two 9-pounder cannons along with eight swivel guns. The ship participated in the Battle of Valcour Island ( Lake Champlain) on October 1776 but was burned two days later to avoid capture by the British.
IMPORTANT SHIP MILESTONES
In 2009, New York transitioned from a pre-commissioning detachment to an operational ship, creating and sustaining a trained, war-ready force prepared for any challenge. From the delivery of the ship to the crew and assumption of command of Cmdr. F. Curt Jones on August 21, the ship set a standard of success and excellence that were maintained throughout the rest of the year. Upon successful completion of crew certification from October 10-12, New York began its first underway, transiting from Avondale, Louisiana, to her homeport, Norfolk Virginia.
Shortly after arriving, New York pulled out of Norfolk Naval Station on Oct. 29 in transit to New York City. There, during commissioning week, the ship hosted thousands of public tours of the ship as well as numerous individual tours for distinguished guests to include Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Woody Johnson, the New York Jets, and others. At the commissioning ceremony on Nov. 7, Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton attended as the keynote speaker as well as the chief of naval operations, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Governor David Paterson and other distinguished guests.
On the return trip to Norfolk, Nov. 15-18, the ship completed its amphibious warfare certification. Once returned to Norfolk, from Nov. 18 until the end of the year, New York continued on its course of training, which included Combat Systems Sea Qualification Trial (CSSQT), on the way to become a fully operational, deployable unit.
USS New York had a very successful first year in commission. The ship was underway for three months in the spring supporting gunnery and missile exercises as well as exercises with the Marine Corps, Army Special Forces, and Navy Seals before arriving at BAE Systems Shipyard for Post Shakedown Maintenance Availability
In April, the ship took part in the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group PHIBRON-MEU Integration (PMINT) Exercise. During PMINT, the ship had many consecutive early morning sea and anchor details to load and land equipment and personnel. Afterwards, the ship spent May, June, July, August, September, and part of October at BAE Systems Shipyard. This shipyard period consisted of the first ever crankshaft replacement in an LPD-17 class. Following the shipyard period, the ship successfully conducted sea trials and first-ever underway replenishment with USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE 5). The latter part of the year was spent preparing for final contract trials in February 2011.
Throughout 2010, New York Sailors displayed their professionalism, enthusiasm, and drive to excel. Whether shooting missiles, putting Marines ashore, working as part of an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), or conducting repairs, Sailors met every challenge head on.
2011 was very busy as USS New York prepared for its maiden deployment. The year started with final contractor trials in January, where the ship was put through its paces and passed with the best score to date by any ship in the LPD 17 class. Following the trials, New York conducted its first change of command ceremony, where Cmdr. Will Herrmann relieved Cmdr. Curt Jones on Feb. 11. The ship immediately started the new Afloat Training Group Pilot Program Basic Phase.
In September, the ship participated in the 10th anniversary commemoration of 9/11 in New York City. First responders and family members of the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 embarked on the voyage from Norfolk to NYC, enabling them to participate alongside the crew in this historic event. Prior to the ceremony, the ship was visited by the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who shared his condolences and pride in everything the crew had accomplished to make the New York successful.
Between October and November, the ship completed the final training phase of the Afloat Training Group Pilot Program. COMPTUEX finished the year and demonstrated its ability to successfully operate with embarked Marines to accomplish the full range of missions required during deployment.
USS New York started the year by participating in Bold Alligator 2012, the largest amphibious exercise on the east coast, with participation from multiple NATO units, where the ship demonstrated its various capabilities proving operational readiness.
With members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked, the ship set sail for her maiden deployment on March 26 as part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) manned, trained and equipped to perform the full range of MEU/ARG missions. In the U.S. 6th and U.S. 5th Fleet areas of responsibility, the ship served as air defense commander for the IWO ARG as well as Sector Air Defense Commander, a task normally assigned to a cruiser or destroyer.
On June 20, Capt. Jon C. Kreitz relived Cmdr. Will C. Herrmann as commanding officer, during a ceremony held on the flight deck while underway. For the remainder of deployment, New York’s crew performed superbly through exercises African Lion 2012, Eager Lion 2012, MASOC, Operation Focus Collect and multiple national-level taskings. New York was the first of its class to conduct refueling at sea of Riverine Control Boats (RCB) and aircraft controllers and flight deck team operated with aircraft from Army, Navy, Marine Corp and Air Force. The ship's signals intelligence team collected more than 43,000 signals of interest, delivering 725 time sensitive reports to tactical commanders and national consumers. New York's visit board search and seizure (VBSS) team conducted multinational training evolutions with Jordanian, Lebanese, Marine Reconnaissance Force (MRF) and Special Operation Forces (SOF) components. Demonstrating top down, bottom up contrast for large vessel boardings. New York made port visits to: Rota, Spain; LaSpezia and Naples, Italy; Aquaba, Jordan; Seychelles Island; and Jebel Ali, UAE.
On the evening of September 11, the 11tth anniversary of 9/11, terrorists attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. As a result of this attack and other destabilizing activities, the ships of Iwo Jima ARG were extended twice on deployment to help maintain security in the region. From December 16-19, New York disembarked Marines and embarked Tigers in Morehead City, North Carolina. She returned to Norfolk, Virginia, on December 20, after 9½ months at sea.
This year began with post-deployment leave and upkeep immediately following New York’s 2012 nine-month maiden deployment. Following stand down, the ship offloaded deployment ammunition and began a six-month CNO Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA) at BAE Norfolk Ship Repair Facility. Following a highly successful light off assessment (LOA) and crew certification, the ship participated in a classified CNO Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) project before commencing Tier-1 of the Afloat Training Group (ATG) Basic Training phase.
New York completed all tier training certifications, including engineering; supply management; damage control; amphibious warfare; seamanship; navigation; command, control, and communications; search and rescue; medical; and dental certifications. Additionally, the ship completed all certifications on time, achieving surge-ready status and assuming duties as the Atlantic Fleet ready/duty LPD in September 2013.
November was an exciting and busy month that included a five day port visit to New York City, New York — the ship's first visit back to New York since 2009. On the two day transit from Norfolk, Virginia to New York City, over 50 family and friends of the crew embarked for a Tiger Cruise, which gave the guests a small glimpse of what shipboard life entails. The five day port visit included numerous events and a large reception which was attended by the Secretary of the Navy, and numerous other foreign military leaders and distinguished guests.
December marked the ship's last few days in Norfolk, Virginia, and a new beginning at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. The first of three amphibious ships to execute the homeport shift to Mayport, the ship was met by a cheering crowd of family, friends, local businessmen, as well as representatives from the highest levels of military and civilian leadership.
The year began following NEW YORK’s homeport shift from Norfolk, Virginia to Mayport, Florida in December, 2013. NEW YORK was the first of three ships in the IWO JIMA Amphibious Ready Group to make the homeport shift. She was later joined by USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) and USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD 43).
On February 14, Capt. Christopher W. Brunett relived Capt. Jon C. Kreitz as commanding officer. Once in command, Capt. Brunett successfully led New York in pre-deployment training exercises and preparations for INSURV inspection. The ship completed all training certifications, including engineering; supply management; damage control; amphibious warfare; seamanship; navigation; command, control, and communications; search and rescue; medical; and dental certifications on-time with passing marks.
In May, New York participated in Fleet Week Port Everglades, Florida. The ship provided guided tours to thousands of civilian guests and distinguished visitors. The crew also participated in many community relations projects and enjoyed liberty in Ft. Lauderdale. Following Fleet Week, New York conducted amphibious training and RQ-21A STUAS developmental testing as well as DLQ support to SOCOM units and a CNO Special RDT&E Project.
In June, just days after returning to Mayport, New York was surge-deployed with only 48 hours notice in support of national tasking to support a special operations task force in a classified high-priority counter-terrorism mission. Upon successful completion of the mission, the ship returned to homeport for a scheduled maintenance availability to prepare for the Iwo Jima ARG pre-deployment workups.
From August through October, as part o the Iwo Jima ARG, New York participated in ARG/MEU EX and COMPUTEX training exercises with the Iwo Jima ARG and the 24th MEU to ensure the ARG and MEU team was prepared for impending deployment. The ship and the other units passed all certification events, proving they were manned, equipped, trained, and ready to deploy.
On Dec. 11, 2014, New York Sailors bid farewell to their friends and families and pulled away from the pier to deploy to support maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.