Eagle goes aboard the USS New York
Sailors, Marines and members of the Coast Guard have arrived by the hundreds in New York City — and they’re eager to meet New Yorkers, see the sights and chow down on some good NYC food.
Aboard the USS New York, an amphibious transport vessel which has returned to its namesake city for the first time since 2011, Capt. Brent DeVore told reporters that NYC is such a “rich, culturally diverse, amazing city and we’re just thrilled to be here.”
Related: Your guide to Fleet Week in Brooklyn
The ship’s primary mission is to take Marines wherever they may be needed. On board this week for visitors to view are aviation units, amphibious assault units, a hovercraft in the well deck and medical capabilities.
The USS New York has an “extremely special tie to the events of Sept. 11, 2001,” Captain DeVore said. “The entire ship is a floating memorial to the events of that day, and all who were lost … We have seven and a half tons of World Trade Center steel that is baked into the ship as part of the hull, and one of the largest pieces remaining of untouched raw steel from the towers.”
A large steel plate scavenged from the WTC hangs over one of the ship’s passage ways. Engraved on it are the words, “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.”
Many of the sailors and Marines aboard the vessel told the Brooklyn Eagle that they were too young to remember much about Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was in elementary school, maybe middle school,” said Operational Specialist Chanell McCray. McCray, who hails from Staten Island, said the ship’s link to Sept. 11 is “definitely humbling.”
During her week in New York, “I’m going to spend time with family, eat, show my friends on the ship where to go, support, volunteer, give back and enjoy the city with my family that’s in New York City,” she said.
Boatswain Dylan Rhys, of the Bronx, said he was “pretty young, too,” when the WTC attack took place. “But we’ll never forget those who had to go through that tragic moment,” he said.
As for this weekend, “I’ll be hanging out with my friends and my family — and getting some good food,” he told the Eagle.
Rare chance to see an Osprey and AH1 Zulu up close
USMC pilot Virginia Cutler, a native New Yorker, flew an MV-22 Osprey up the Hudson during Fleet Week’s kick off. She landed it on the deck of the USS New York, and visitors can marvel at it this week. The Osprey is the Marine Corps’ main assault support aircraft.
“We’re thrilled to be here in New York, and it was an absolute privilege and thrill to fly this Osprey up the Hudson River,” she told the Eagle. She added, “It’s pretty cool as a native New Yorker to look out at Central Park from the cockpit of the Osprey.”
Cutler is Operations Officer of her unit, so she’s pretty busy this week.
“Tomorrow, we’ll be at Floyd Bennet Field for an engagement event with the NYPD. We’re going to fly an Osprey in and show the officers and their families all around the aircraft,” she said. “On Friday, we have a high school recruiting event in Queens. And on Saturday is the most exciting event: We’re flying an Osprey and an H1 [helicopter] into Prospect Park for a daylong event. It’s going to be really fun.”
USMC AH1 Zulu (Cobra) attack helicopter pilots Jeremy Coquoz, Craig Pack, Andrew Hitchens, Keith Beers said their mission in New York City is to “eat good food, hang out with New Yorkers and take in the sights.” Visitors can also check out the helicopter on the deck of the USS New York.
Public Affairs Officer Cody Keim served on the USS New York for more than six months as part of Amphibious Squadron Four in Africa, the Middle East and throughout Europe.
Keim explained that the USS New York is “able to move an expeditionary force from point A to point B,” conducting amphibious operations anywhere, on any shoreline around the world. The ship has a combined crew of roughly 400 sailors, plus can transport 600-700 Marines.
Keim told the Eagle that he can’t say where the ship is headed for its next mission, but crew members are constantly training, and “they’re ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.”
Captain DeVore brought home the mission of the ships and aircraft on view this week.
“Our role is simply whatever our leaders ask us to do,” he said. “Globally, we partner with our partners to ensure safe commerce can travel via the seas, and we do that via our presence — and more importantly our forward presence. We are … our government’s away team. That is, in many ways, a positive influence on world stability.”
Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the USS New York and more than a dozen other ships representing the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, plus two Canadian ships. Check out this calendar of Brooklyn Fleet Week events.
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