JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Navy battleship, rebuilt using steel from World Trade Center towers, is coming to Mayport earlier than planned. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Friday the USS New York will arrive in Mayport in 2013.
"This is great news for the local economy and the security of our fleet," Senator Bill Nelson said after today's announcement. "And, the decision to move these ships early underscores how important Jacksonville is to the U.S. Navy."
The move to Mayport began in May when Nelson wrote to Mabus in support of the New York move to Jacksonville. In that letter, Nelson emphasized that bringing amphibious ships down to Mayport and spreading out the fleet between Atlantic ports is in our best national security interests.
Nelson also told Mabus an earlier move would help sustain the shipping-repair business in the Jacksonville area. "It is my understanding the Navy is studying the feasibility of transferring the Amphibious Ready Group ships and 2,000 sailors to Mayport in 2014 instead of 2015. I fully support an expedited move and have asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to give you the resources necessary to home port thee additional ships at Mayport."
Mabus wrote Nelson in return, saying "I strongly believe that moving an Amphibious Readiness Group to Mayport, FL, is the right move for our forces and for our national security. I hope to have a decision on the expedited schedule by the end this summer."
The USS New York is part of the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group of three ships that has been operating in the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. The rest of the Amphibious Ready Group is scheduled to arrive in Mayport by 2014.
Mayport also will begin receiving littoral combat ships in 2016. The port is still in line to home port a nuclear carrier.