Since 1776, there have been seven US Navy warships named USS New York. The current USS New York (LPD 21) gained national fame, having some of it built from steel remains of the collapsed World Trade Center. Other ships of this name have played a part in the United States naval history.
The first USS New York was a single-mast gundalow (gun boat). She served in Lake Champlain during the American Revolution. Built as the “Success”, she was launched and served in General Benedict Arnold’s fleet at Lake Champlain under the name “New York”. She had one 12-pounder long gun mounted in the bow, two 9-pounder guns, and eight swivel guns with a crew of 45 men.
The USS New York fought in the Battle of Valcour Island, and was the only gundalow to survive the battle. Afterwards, she was stationed at Fort Ticonderoga, when it fell into the hands of the British in 1777.
The second USS New York was a 36-gun, three-masted, wooden-hulled frigate built in 1798, alongside the USS Constitution. She was launched and commissioned in 1800. Captain Richard Valentine Morris was first in command. Morris came from a wealthy family; his father Lewis Morris was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his uncle Gouverneur Morris was a signer of The Constitution of the United States and wrote the Preamble.
The USS New York immediately sailed to the Caribbean where she fought in the Quasi-war (1800-1801) to protect US merchant ships from the French.
After returning to New York and Washington, she was ordered to the Mediterranean during the War with the Barbary Pirates (1802-1803). On her return voyage, she was given a 17 gun salute by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson while passing through Malta on her way home. She returned to the Washington Navy Yard, remaining for eleven years.
In 1814, during the War of 1812, she was captured and burned by the British.
The third USS New York was a 74-gun, full-rigged, ship of the line. Built in the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia, she was never launched, and was burned in the stocks in 1861 by Union forces to prevent capture by Confederate forces.
The fourth USS New York was a screw-sloop, originally laid down as the USS Ontario. In 1869, she was renamed USS New York. She never left the stocks and was sold in 1888.
The Fifth USS New York (ACR-2) was laid down in 1890, launched in 1891 and commissioned in 1893. Construction was in Philadelphia. She was the second armored cruiser to be built for the US Navy. With six 8-inch guns, she was the most heavily armed cruiser in the US Navy when commissioned.
Assigned to the South Atlantic, her first tour ordered her to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and for the year, was at Taipu Beach, and visited Nicaragua and West Indies. Between 1895 and 1897, she was assigned to both the European and the North Atlantic Squadrons.
In 1898, the USS New York sailed to the Key West, and when the Spanish-American War commenced, sailed to Cuba. She became the flagship for Admiral William T. Sampson. The Spanish navy attempted to escape, but were defeated. The USS New York spent time in Cuba, Bermuda, Honduras and Venezuela. She returned to New York receiving a hero's welcome.
Later assignments took her to Asian waters, being transferred to the Asiatic Fleet in 1901, and transiting through the Suez Canal. As flagship, she visited ports in Japan, Philippines, China and Russia. After a period assigned to the Pacific Fleet, during which time she was sent to Honduras to protect US interests, she returned to Boston via the Panama Canal.
After four years rework, the USS New York was again sent to the Asiatic Fleet and passed through the Suez Canal. In 1911, she was renamed USS Saratoga. This freed up the name “New York”, which would be given to a battleship.
The sixth USS New York was a battleship, and lead in her class. Built in Brooklyn Navy Yard, she was laid down on 11 September 1911, (9/11/1911) launched in 1912, and commissioned in 1914. She was the first to carry 14-inch/45 calibre gun.
Her first tour of duty was to help the British Grand Fleet in the North Sea in 1914, and she remained there until the end of World War I. After the war, the crew underwent training in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as spending time in the yards upgrading armament.
During World War II, USS New York served as a convoy escort for ships transiting to Iceland and Great Britain. Later in the war, she saw her first major action off the coast of Casablanca in Operation Torch, provided artillery support. Later in the war, she was transferred to the Pacific fleet and provided naval gunfire support at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
After the war, USS New York, no longer in use as a warship, took part in nuclear weapon tests near Bikini Atoll. She survived two explosions and was researched for the effects of radiation. In 1948 she was sunk as a target ship.
USS New York received three battle stars.
USS New York (LPD 21) a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, was laid down on 10 September 2004, completed on19 December 2007, christened 1 March 2008 and commissioned in New York City on 7 November 2009. Named in honor of the victims of the World Trade Towers which collapsed on 9/11, she contains 7.5 short tons of steel taken from the rubble of the Twin Towers. She was built in New Orleans by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.
USS New York (LPD 21) saw her first deployment in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in 2012. After six months, she returned to Norfolk. In 2013, she shifted homeports from Norfolk to Mayport, to form the Iwo Jima ARG (Amphibious Readiness Group).
In 2017, she provided relief off the Florida coast following Hurricane Irma. She has since sailed to the Mediterranean. In June of 2019, USS New York (LPD 21) returned to visit New York City during Fleet Week.
Submitted: CDR John F.V. Cupschalk, USN, Retired
"And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
I served in the United States Navy.” - John Fitzgerald Kennedy, US Navy Lieutenant & 35th President of the United States
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