New battleship headed to Mayport earlier than planned
June 15, 2012
JACKSONVILLE - From Okinawa to 9/11 to Mayport. The USS New York saw heavy action near Okinawa during World War II. Five decades later, the battleship was rebuilt using steel from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Today, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Rep. Ander Crenshaw and Sen. Bill Nelson announced the New York is moving to Naval Station Mayport.
Maybus and Crenshaw were in Jacksonville at Mayport and Nelson commented via prerecorded video in which he said: “Ander Crenshaw and I’ve worked with the Navy for years to make this happen and to underscore the importance of Mayport. And earlier this year we urged the Secretary, Ray Mabus, to bring these ships down earlier. This is a great announcement that the Secretary has made that we’ll be getting these ships. It’s great news for the local economy; the security of our fleet; it’s great news our country and it’s great news for the ship repair business in Jacksonville.”
In May, Nelson wrote Mabus in support of moving the New York to Jacksonville at least a year earlier than the Navy had planned. In his letter, Nelson emphasized that bringing amphibious ships down to Mayport and spreading out the fleet between Atlantic ports is in our best national security interests. He also told Mabus an earlier move would help sustain the shipping-repair business in the Jacksonville area. Nelson wrote:
“It is my understanding the Navy is studying the feasibility of transferring the Amphibious Ready Group ships and 2,000 sailors to Mayport in 2014 instead of 2015. I fully support an expedited move and have asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to give you the resources necessary to homeport thee additional ships at Mayport.”
Mabus wrote Nelson in return, saying “I strongly believe that moving an Amphibious Readiness Group to Mayport, FL, is the right move for our forces and for our national security. I hope to have a decision on the expedited schedule by the end this summer.”
True to his word, Mabus delivered the announcement Friday.
According to Mabus, the New York – currently deployed to the Middle East – will arrive at Mayport in 2013, about year early. The New York is part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group of three ships that has been operating in the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf.
“This is great news for the local economy and the security of our fleet,” Nelson said after today’s announcement. “And, the decision to move these ships early underscores how important Jacksonville is to the U.S. Navy.”
Mayport will receive the rest of the Amphibious Ready Group by 2014. Mayport also will begin receiving littoral combat ships in 2016. And, Mayport still is in line to homeport a nuclear carrier.
The commanding officer of the New York, a native of Long Island and nephew of a New York City firefighter, has said the ship represents everything the nation has overcome since the 9/11 attacks. Its bow incorporates more than seven tons of steel taken from the rubble of the twin towers.