From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division
Editor’s Note: Many Americans over the age of 25 remember two worlds, the one before Sept. 11, 2001 and the one after. Although the terror of that day shook the nation, it can be argued that America emerged stronger with a new understanding of and appreciation for freedom and democracy. Since the Nation’s beginning, America’s Navy has maintained those ideals by remaining ready to win wars, deter aggression and maintain freedom of the seas. In the post 9/11 world maintaining the maritime superiority necessary to accomplish that mission is carried out by tough, bold and ready American Sailors. As the nation and the world pause to remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we asked the commanding officers of the Navy’s 9/11 ships USS New York (LPD 21), USS Arlington (LPD 24) and USS Somerset (LPD 25), to discuss how their crews remain tough, bold and ready in defense of freedom and democracy.
Nothing says toughness like NEW YORK’s strength forged from the sacrifice of September 11th. We carry sacred steel from the twin towers in our hull and the lasting memory of all 9/11 victims: civilians, police and firefighters. We remember those who fought and continue to do so for our freedom. We understand that the freedom we enjoy comes with a price. We believe that so long as there are Americans willing to pay that price, our nation and way of life will endure. Our Sailors and Marines on NEW YORK, and those standing watch around the world, are among those; we don’t give up, we don’t quit and we will never forget!
ARLINGTON’s crew boldly challenged the paradigm for Amphibious Ready Group deployments in 2016 supporting both the FIFTH and SIXTH Fleet as a key asset of the KEARSARGE Amphibious Ready Group and embarked 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit. Departing shortly after the 14th anniversary of September 11th, ARLINGTON’s deployment proved the flexibility of the LPD to fill not only its classic role of amphibious transport, but also non-traditional missions such as a staging platform for Naval Special Warfare and conducting independent Maritime Interdiction Operations with a Joint Special Operations Task Force and multinational partners. Bold presence mattered during the deployment which in all likelihood helped suppress the spread of terrorism by countering the movement of fighters and interdicting their supply chains. Exploring new ways to maximize the flexibility of our deployed naval forces is at the forefront of the amphibious community and ARLINGTON’s deployment represented one of the ways our Navy leverages its warfighting advantage to protect vital sea lanes while at the same time having a ready and responsive force poised to support the theater commander.
Readiness is front and center for every member of the crew aboard SOMERSET as we prepare for our maiden deployment. Our Navy recruits, trains and retains tough, bold and ready Sailors who become the backbone of our Navy Team and the force of tomorrow. The innovative technologies of the U.S. Navy allow us to bring maximum creativity, operational agility and new insight to the fight. As the complexity and reliability of technology moves forward, Sailors have already proven their ability to adapt and succeed. Our Surface Forces are always ready to operate forward and maintain overseas presence in an ever-changing environment. The modernization of our ships, with the implementation of new methods and tools allows us to expand our reach of power. Unquestionably, with the quality of Sailors we recruit and the training we provide, we continue to evolve our security and ability maximize our combat effectiveness for maritime superiority.
Visit the Navy Live blog here for additional stories from Sailors around the fleet about the role of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on their service, and a post on The Sextant blog about a Sailor’s 9/11 experience at the Pentagon (here), learn the behind the scenes story about some of the iconic photographs at the Pentagon that fateful day here, and view some of the oral histories, artifacts, and other resources NHHC has on the subject here.