By Elena Pierce
The Navy's newest amphibious transport dock ship, Pre-commissioning Unit Somerset (LPD 25) arrived at its commissioning site of Philadelphia, Feb. 21 in preparation for its commissioning ceremony, March 1.
During the port visit, Somerset Sailors are scheduled to participate in several community outreach events including working with the Boys and Girls Club and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Somerset's Command Master Chief Larry Lynch said the Sailors are really looking forward to the week of activities.
"Every Sailor on board has achieved and encountered many challenges bringing this ship to life," said Lynch. "The commissioning week is giving them an opportunity to show their family, friends, the city of Philadelphia, and especially the family of the United Flight 93 crew and passengers, the amount hard work they have put into this ship."
Somerset Sailors said they are also looking forward to the opportunity to work with the local community.
"I think it is important for us to take every chance we get to help the community," said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Caldera. "I think a great way for us to say 'thank you' is by giving back."
Caldera said that community events give Sailors a chance to tell people about the history of Somerset while honoring the passengers and crew of flight 93.
"Our motto says it all - Courage through Adversity," said Caldera.
The third of the three U.S. ships named in honor of those victims and first responders of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Somerset will join USS New York (LPD 21) and USS Arlington (LPD 24) which are already a part of the Navy's combat force.
USS Somerset represents the heroic actions of the 40 crew and passengers of United Flight 93 honoring their collective sacrifice and the tremendous courage displayed in the face of overwhelming adversity. Had it not been for their brave actions, the terrorists would have reached their intended target and countless more lives would have been lost.
The March 1 commissioning ceremony is a formal ceremony and time-honored tradition that places a warship in active service as a member of the Navy's operational fleet. The event is not open to the general public. Upon formal commissioning USS Somerset (LPD 25) will proceed to its homeport of San Diego.