WTC steel to be reshaped into bow of USS New York
September 7, 2003
A Navy vessel, one day to be christened the USS New York, will bring to life a fallen icon of the city that suffered most from the terrorist attacks two years ago.
On Tuesday, workers from the Amite Foundry and Machine Inc. will melt down 24 tons of steel that once formed the shell of the World Trade Center, and begin the process of resurrecting it, in a manner of speaking.
At 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, the steel will soften. From a 50-ton capacity ladle, the melted steel will be poured into a sand mold containing an imprint for the bow-stem casting for the Navy’s next LPD San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, being built by Northrup Grumman Ship Systems.
“This symbolizes and recognizes the great courage of the people of New York. … There’s quite a symbolic link in the name, and now we’re using the steel from the World Trade Center in the forward part of the hull that literally breaks the waves,” said Fred Lash, spokesman of Naval Sea Systems Command, which oversees the construction of ships.
“The curvature of that part of the bow literally is the most forward extension of the ship and when it sails into missions in the future, it’ll be that steel up front that leads the way, and will have with it the hardness and dedication and spirit of the people of New York,” Lash said.
Each of the Navy’s LPD will be named for cities. The New York, the fifth in a planned 12-vessel series, is preceded by the lead ship San Antonio, followed by the New Orleans, Mesa Verde and then the Green Bay.
And so, there’s a somber excitement brewing in Amite, La. — and yes, you can have both simultaneously, said Wayne Peterson, spokesman for Amite Foundry and Machine.
“We feel there is a lot of emotion involved in this, and all of us feel grateful we’ve been chosen to do this work, and that’s why we’re having a ceremony to celebrate that,” Peterson said of Tuesday’s planned festivities.
“But it’s a somber excitement.”
To commemorate that somberness, that excitement, New Yorkers will travel to Louisiana to catch a glimpse of the notable process, New Yorkers such as representatives from the city fire department, Port Authority, and police department — each of which lost comrades in rescue attempts at the World Trace Center following the infamous terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Former Navy Secretary Gordon England, now the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, will attend with his wife, Dotty England, the ship’s sponsor. Gov. George Pataki and city mayor Michael Bloomberg have been invited.
A year ago, England announced the decision to name the fifth amphibious transport dock ship of the San Antonio class after the Big Apple.
“This new class of ships will project American power to the far corners of the earth and support the cause of freedom well into the 21st century,” England had said.
“From the war for independence through the war on terrorism, which we wage today, the courage and heroism of the people of New York has been an inspiration. USS New York will play an important role in our Navy’s future and will be a fitting tribute to the people of the Empire State.”