By Walter G. Meyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Any Navy crew has pride in its ship, but there is a special sense of pride and duty among the crew of the USS Somerset. This feeling is even stronger for the Pennsylvanians on board.
The Somerset is the third of the three San Antonio Class LPDs — the acronym stands for Landing Platform/Dock — named for the September 11 attacks. The USS New York has steel from the World Trade Center, the USS Arlington has pieces of the Pentagon, and to build the USS Somerset, workers melted down a crane that was a landmark near the Flight 93 crash site, where all 40 crew members and passengers died.
But the Somerset has much more than steel to connect the ship to Flight 93 and rural southwestern Pennsylvania. The ship’s commander, Capt. Lennie Reed, said, “Frankly, it’s a little easier to command this ship because of the evidence of Flight 93 and the sacrifice of the passengers. You can’t go into a space pretty much that doesn’t have a ‘93’ or a reminder. Our sacrifice compared to that is pretty minimal.” Capt. Reed is from Gambrills, Md., about a three-hour drive from Somerset, and he feels a bit of a connection there and to the attack on the Pentagon after having spent time there.