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Never forget

When the US Navy announced that they were naming a new assault ship the USS New York after the 9/11 attacks, and using salvaged steel in her construction, I was proud of the idea, but had a minor quibble with the name. The ship is of the San Antonio class, and all her sister ships are named after United States cities. I thought she should be named the New York City, to honor the city itself and not the state. And it reminded me of another incident in naval history.

In the 1970's, Iran felt the need to be a bit stronger militarily. It wanted to be considered a major player in the region, and thought seapower would be a good way to do it. So it ordered four destroyers from the United States. They were to be derived from the Spruance-class destroyers that were the state of the art in the US navy at the time, with some adaptations to better serve in the Persian Gulf.

But then fate intervened. Once the ships were finished, but before they could be delivered, the Shah of Iran fell and the Ayatollah Khomeini took over, and the US embassy was taken. Suddenly our greatest Muslim ally was now our bitterest enemy.

So the Navy decided to buy the ships themselves. Their existing names (Kouroush, Daryush, Nader, and Andushirvan) weren't exactly suitable for US Naval warships. They were christened the Kidd, Callaghan, Scott, and Chandler, all named after admirals who had been killed in action during World War II. The "Dead Admiral" ships (also sometimes cynically called the "Ayatollah" class) served with honor and distinction for about 20 years before being retired by the Navy, and now they are being sold to Taiwan, where they will continue their career in defending democracy and freedom.

And now we have the USS New York, who is being joined by two sister ships, the USS Arlington and USS Somerset. The Arlington is being named after the county where the Pentagon sits, and the Somerset for the county where Flight 93 came to earth.

The New York already carries the marks of a second American tragedy. She is being built in New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina disrupted her construction. But she survived, and will proudly serve once she is completed

The purist in me wishes that LPD-21 was named New York City or Manhattan County, and not just New York. But that is the slightest quibble, and her motto is one we should all take to heart.

Never Forget

Other resources:

Account of the New York's construction

The Kidd class destoyers

Wikipedia entry on USS New York

Wikipedia entry on the San Antonio class LPDs


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Comments (11)

Manhattan County? Huh?... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Manhattan County? Huh?

How about New York County? Or, the Borough of Manhattan? Or, NYC? Or the USS Big Apple?

But NOT Manhattan County, because it doesn't exist.

If I'm not mistaken, Manhat... (Below threshold)

If I'm not mistaken, Manhattan IS New York County New York. Therefore the name would be entirely appropriate.

According to Frank Sinatra,... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

According to Frank Sinatra, the name of the city is New York.

New York steel in on... (Below threshold)

New York steel in one ship is good and proper.

But how much better if every new ship had a piece of New York steel in it? Like maybe a two foot square of the deck in front of the Captain's chair on the bridge. Or a "touch-plate" by the entrance to the enlisted mess.

Matthew:New York C... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:


New York County comprises Manhattan, but Manhattan is not a county. There is no Manhattan County in New York, and it would be pretty silly to name a ship after a county that does not exist.

Similarly, there is no "Brooklyn County," because the Borough of Brooklyn is contained in Kings County. Staten Island is Richmond County, not "Staten Island County."

It's a pretty easy concept.

It's not just Sinatra, but ... (Below threshold)

It's not just Sinatra, but the U.S. Post Office as well. You don't address something to New York City, NY.

The fact is, that the city and the state have the same name.

It is the City of New York. And just like you wouldn't call the City of San Antonio, "San Antonio City" on an official document or such, you don't call it New York City except as a colloquiallism.

And they're right about "Manhattan County" - no such place in NY. And using the name would be bad - it is not a separate city and would only serve to diminish the rest of the city - and it was the whole city that had to deal with the effects, not just Manhattan.

The impression I got after ... (Below threshold)

The impression I got after watching a long feature on either Discovery Channel or History Channel a few weeks ago, about the ship and the steel used in it was that the ship is named after the city. Both the Naval Officers and the management at the shipyard seemed to convey that idea. Maybe they failed to add "City" to the name. But they did mention that all the San Antonio class ships were named after cities

Waveman is correct.<p... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Waveman is correct.

New York is the full name of the city in which the trade towers toppled. That is the entire name of the city, nothing more needs to be added.

Arlington is the name of the city in which the Pentagon was bruised. There doesn't seem to be any debate about this.

Somerset is the name of a city in Pennsylvania near which flight 93 crashed. I don't know whether it was in the city limits, or outside in the surrounding county. Does it matter? Since the city and county have the same name, I suppose not.

Yes, we could be more precise by naming the borough or district or neighborhood or even nearest cross street. But who really cares? Nobody is going to mistake the USS New York as being named for Buffalo or Syracuse or even White Plains or Montauk. To most of the world, New York (the city) is synonymous with America. To most of America, New York is a city and not a state. Most people (even New Yorkers) haven't even been upstate.

New York is New York. Sure there are surrounding area were people have lots of land and talk even funnier than the people in the city, but nobody hears "New York" and thinks "Rochester" or "Albany."

Well, that's my $.02--from someone who calls Los Angeles home, but spent 9 years splitting my time pretty equally--week on, week off--between Los Angeles and New York (mostly the city, but also throughout the state).

My only problem with that i... (Below threshold)

My only problem with that is that New York is also the name of a state, and state names were traditionally reserved for capital ships. So, I would be happier with New York City, than just New York. Of course, we can't really expect any more battleships to be built in the near future, but still, it is the tradition of the whole thing.

Bruce Hayden:Oops,... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Bruce Hayden:

Oops, I know next to nothing about military tradition. You might have an excellent point there.

As Emily Latilla used to say, "never mind."

I would see adding "City of... (Below threshold)

I would see adding "City of" if, like the attack sub USS City of Corpus Christi, there would be a problem with a vessel named Body of Christ. SSN 705 is named after the city, not Jesus' remains.






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