Grass Valley native serving aboard Navy ship forged from World Trade Center steel
As the nation prepares to observe the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a 2014 Nevada Union High School graduate and Grass Valley native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built using steel from the World Trade Center, according to a Navy release.
Fireman Zach Garrity, serving aboard USS New York, is responsible for working on the air conditioning systems and hydraulic systems for the ship. 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, the release stated.
“I played baseball growing up in Grass Valley,” Garrity said in the release. “It taught me how to work well with others. I use that skill every day in the Navy. My great grandfather served in the Air Force in World War II, my uncle served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Every day I try to honor them and the sacrifices they made.”
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.
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, according to the release.
Serving in the Navy and aboard New York, Garrity is constantly learning how to be the best leader, Sailor and person possible by handling numerous responsibilities, meeting deadlines, and forging lasting professional relationships, the release stated.
“It’s a ship like no other,” said Capt. Todd Vandegrift, commanding officer. “It represents the fighting spirit and resiliency of our Navy and nation. While 9/11 maybe a distant memory for many, the events of that day are ever present before the crew and they shape the service and performance of each sailor.”
The meaning behind the ship’s metal and name aren’t lost on Garrity.
“I was a little too young to understand the impact that 9/11 had at the time, but it started to mean more as I grew up,” Garrity said in the release. “The fact that I serve on a ship that memorializes 9/11 serves as a reminder of why I joined every day. It’s really an honor.”
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