The USS Arlington, one of three new Navy ships named for the locations attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, will be commissioned Saturday in Norfolk with an array of Arlington officials in attendance. It will then be formally in service as a landing platform/dock to transport troops into war zones around the world.
Construction of the ship began in 2008, it was christened in 2011 and sailed into its home port of Norfolk on March 22. It’s a 684-feet long San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock with a crew of 363 and can carry 800 troops, 14 expeditionary vehicles and four helicopters. Its sister ships are the USS New York and the USS Somerset.
The ship will have an Arlington “Tribute Room” with items from the county and also from the damaged Pentagon, to honor both the 184 people killed and the many emergency personnel from Northern Virginia who responded to the attack.
A delegation of Arlington officials, including board members, police and fire commanders and other county leaders, are headed to Norfolk for the ceremony. “It is a very big deal for us,” board chair Walter Tejada told me Wednesday. “It means we continue to strengthen our relationship with the military. The USS Arlington will represent our county for many decades to come. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with the USS Arlington and her crew as it carries Arlington’s name around the globe in service to our nation.”
Here is video of the ship arriving in Norfolk last month, welcomed by Arlington public safety and political officials, shot by the Navy and edited by the fine folks at ARLNow.com.