Wilmington native serving aboard U.S. Navy ship forged from World Trade Center steel

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Wilmington native and Petty Officer Second Class Amanda Brittingham is a mass communication specialist aboard USS New York. (Photo coourtesy of the U.S. Navy.)
Wilmington native and Petty Officer Second Class Amanda Brittingham is a mass communication specialist aboard USS New York. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.)

Originally published by Dusty Good on the Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs blog.

MAYPORT, Florida – As the nation is observes the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a Wilmington native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built using steel from the World Trade Center.

Petty Office 2nd Class Amanda Brittingham is a mass communication specialist aboard USS New York, responsible for providing media support to ships personnel.

USS New York, one of the Navy’s newest and most advanced amphibious ships, is designed to deliver Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts.

Homeported in Mayport, Florida, USS New York, named for the state of New York, is longer than two football fields at 684 feet, is 105 feet wide and weighs more than 24,000 tons. It has four diesel engines that can push the ship through the water in excess of 26 mph.

“I love being able to talk with people and get to know them,” Brittingham said. “I like to learn their stories and share it with the world.”

Serving in the Navy and aboard New York, Brittingham said she is constantly learning how to be the best leader, Sailor and person possible by handling numerous responsibilities, meeting deadlines, and forging lasting professional relationships.

“I like that the ship has meaning,” said Brittingham. “Ship life isn’t the easiest thing, but this ship is a living museum that makes you feel like everything you do is important.”

According to the Navy, New York’s bow, forged from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, embodies the strength and determination of the people of the United States: to recover, rally, and take the fight to the enemy and honor the memory of those who were affected by the attacks. USS New York forges an enduring alliance between the people of New York, the ship, and her crew.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New York. More than 400 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. An additional 700 Marines can be embarked. New York is capable of transporting the Marines and landing them where they are needed via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and landing craft.

“The sailors who serve aboard USS New York are exceptional in so many ways,” said Capt. Kenneth M. Coleman, the ship’s commanding officer. “They represent some of the hardest working and most dedicated Americans I have served with in 25 years of naval service. They exhibit an impressive level of pride for serving onboard a ship that means so much to so many Americans. I am honored to lead this crew and be a part of the special bond that this ship and her crew shares with her namesake.”

Collectively, the San Antonio-class ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms. Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice as well.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships Brittingham said she and other New York sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team that embodies the spirit, strength and resilience of the American people.

“I feel like there is a different sense of pride serving on a ship that is made with metal from the World Trade Centers,” said Brittingham. “My mom is from Queens and I have a lot of family from New York and that makes me have a lot more pride.”