Lebanon native serves aboard U.S. Navy ship forged from World Trade Center steel

Staff Reports • Sep 11, 2017 at 3:00 PM

MAYPORT, Fla. – As the nation observes the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a 2010 Lebanon High School graduate and Lebanon native serves in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built using steel from the World Trade Center.

Lt. Michael Murphy is a navigator aboard USS New York, responsible for planning routes for the ship, taking into account where they are heading, ensuring the route is safe, efficient and fast. USS New York, one of the Navy’s newest and most advanced amphibious ships, is designed to deliver Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts.

“Lebanon is a very pro-military town,” said Murphy. “I had a friend who went to West Point, which taught me the hierarchy of the military rank system. I learned that this is an occupation that I can take pride in.”

Homeported in Mayport, Florida, USS New York, named for the state of New York, is longer than two football fields at 684 feet, is 105 feet wide and weighs more than 24,000 tons. It has four diesel engines that can push the ship through the water in excess of 26 mph.

According to the Navy, New York’s bow, forged from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack, embodies the strength and determination of the people of the United States: to recover, rally and take the fight to the enemy and honor the memory of those who were affected by the attacks. USS New York forges an enduring alliance between the people of New York, the ship and her crew.

Serving in the Navy and aboard New York, Murphy is constantly learning how to be the best leader, sailor and person possible by handling numerous responsibilities, meeting deadlines and forging lasting professional relationships.

“I take a lot of pride in my sailors,” said Murphy. “On my last ship, my first class petty officer was awarded with sailor of the year. I've taken part in two deployments, as well.”

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New York. More than 400 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. An additional 700 Marines can be embarked. New York is capable of taking the Marines and landing them where they are needed via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and landing craft.

“It’s a ship like no other,” said Capt. Todd Vandegrift, commanding officer of the USS New York. “It represents the fighting spirit and resiliency of our Navy and nation. While Sept. 11 maybe a distant memory for many, the events of that day are ever present before the crew and they shape the service and performance of each sailor. The USS New York is at the forefront of readiness, amphibious operations and warfighting innovation. From being the ship of choice for the most demanding mission, to the highest scores in the amphibious transport dock fleet during the USS New York’s recent board of inspection and survey inspections material condition inspection, this ship and its crew leads the LPD fleet. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to help guide and mold these young men and women’s futures.”

Collectively, the San Antonio-class ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms. Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. The ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. Because of their inherent capabilities, the ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice, as well.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships, Murphy and other New York sailors are part of a warfighting team that embodies the spirit, strength and resilience of the American people.

“There's a sense of nostalgia intertwined with the standard occupation of serving in the Navy," said Murphy about serving about the USS New York. “Almost every person serving on board was affected in some way by the events on Sept. 11. There aren't many namesakes where you can attach yourself to what the ship represents, but here we can. That makes it really special.”

By Lt. Wesley Holzapfel, Navy Office of Community Outreach

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