U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) yesterday introduced a resolution in the Senate encouraging the Navy to commission the USS Somerset in Philadelphia. In February, Sen. Toomey wrote to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asking that Philadelphia be the site of the commissioning. The Secretary's office responded to Sen. Toomey that the city of brotherly love is under consideration. That exchange of correspondence is available here and here.
The new ship honors passengers of United Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Somerset County on September 11, 2001. The USS Somerset is the ninth and newest amphibious warfare ship in the San Antonio class. It joins the USS New York and the USS Arlington in remembering the heroes of September 11.
"Our Commonwealth was deeply and uniquely impacted by the tragic events of September 11th," said Sen. Casey. "The USS Somerset is named to honor the courageous passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Through the actions of these brave individuals, they prevented terrorist hijackers from reaching their target destination. We have taken great pride in our role to ensure that this sacrifice is never forgotten. We would be honored to commission the USS Somerset in Pennsylvania and to continue to pay tribute to the victims and their family members this way."
"The Somerset should be commissioned in Pennsylvania. I asked Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to bring her to Philadelphia for the occasion, and I'm grateful to Sen. Casey for cosponsoring this resolution with me to show bipartisan support for this request," said Sen. Toomey. "The ship is named in honor of the courageous passengers whose action prevented the terrorists from killing many more Americans. Our state and our citizens would be honored to have the ship begin its service in the Port of Philadelphia. I hope Secretary Mabus agrees."
A ship is commissioned when it is put into active service. The U.S.S. Somerset was christened July 2012.