Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-09) and Congressman Keith Rothfus (PA-12) are pleased that the Navy has decided to commission the USS SOMERSET in Philadelphia. Shuster and Rothfus introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to encourage the Secretary of the Navy to commission the ship in the state of its namesake.
"The Navy made the right decision to commission the USS SOMERSET in Pennsylvania. This ship is a testament to the passengers and crew aboard Flight 93 who courageously gave their lives to save countless others in our nation's capital on September 11, 2011. It is only fitting the commissioning be in the state where they made the ultimate sacrifice," said Shuster. "The Port of Philadelphia serves as a convenient site for families and friends of those fallen, and allows them the opportunity to attend the tribute in Pennsylvania."
"I was happy to learn that the USS Somerset will be commissioned in Philadelphia," said Rothfus. "Commissioning this important ship in Philadelphia, the port closest to Somerset County, is a fitting tribute to the courageous passengers and crew of Flight 93. I look forward to joining Secretary Mabus, Senators Toomey and Casey, Congressman Shuster, Flight 93 families, and fellow Pennsylvanians at the commissioning of the USS Somerset."
Shuster and Rothfus introduced House Resolution 125 in March. All members of the Pennsylvania Delegation signed on to become original co-sponsors of the bill to honor those who perished in Somerset County on September 11, 2001.
"I am delighted that Secretary Mabus has agreed to bring the SOMERSET to Philadelphia," said Senator Pat Toomey. "I appreciate the leadership of Congressmen Shuster and Rothfus, who spearheaded the effort in the House of Representatives to make this happen and gained the support of the entire Pennsylvania delegation. The people of Philadelphia will be magnificent hosts for the commissioning ceremony in January 2014 and all Pennsylvanians are proud to have the ship begin her service to our nation in the Port of Philadelphia."
Steel from the crash site was melted down and cast into the USS SOMERSET's bow stem and trees cleared for the construction of Rt. 219 in Somerset County will be used in the floor of the ship's museum. The ship is the ninth and newest amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class.
The USS SOMERSET joins the USS NEW YORK and the USS ARLINGTON in remembering the heroes of September 11th.