By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
As the nation observed the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a Riverview native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built using steel from the World Trade Center.
On September 11, 2001, Lt. Nick Driscoll, was in the seventh grade watching the towers fall on a roll-out TV in the library of Teague Middle School.
“I sat there with 25 other 12-year-olds, not knowing the world as we knew it would change forever,” said Driscoll. “Similar to the motto of USS New York, ‘Strength forged through sacrifice. Never Forget,’ we must never forget the brave men and women who lost their lives trying to rescue innocent people from certain death inside the towers.”
Driscoll joined the Navy 10 years ago.
“I joined the Navy to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Driscoll. “9/11 was and continues to be a motivating factor behind my service. Being able to prevent another 9/11 in any way I can was the driving force behind my decision to join the Navy.”
According to Driscoll, a 2007 Riverview High School graduate and a 2011 United States Naval Academy graduate, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Riverview.
“Riverview is full of hardworking individuals that understand nothing will be given to you, and to strive for excellence in everything that you do,” said Driscoll. “This work ethic has gotten me to where I am in my career.”
USS New York’s bow is forged from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. According to Navy officials, the Navy’s 9/11 namesake ships uphold the virtues of service, sacrifice and selflessness that have always been the source of America’s strength.
“It is an honor and privilege to carry on the legacy of the selfless heroes and unwilling victims of the 9/11 attacks,” said Commanding Officer of USS New York Capt. Javier Gonzalez. “Our ship embodies the fighting passion that united Americans, despite an inconceivable tragedy, to defend our country’s values and continue the pursuit of freedom worldwide.”
New York is designed to deliver Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from beach assaults to humanitarian relief efforts.
Homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, USS New York is longer than two football fields at 684 feet. The ship 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.
Serving in the Navy means Driscoll is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Being that over 75 percent of the world’s trade travels by water, it is crucial that the Navy maintains freedom of the seas,” said Driscoll. “Not only do we ensure waterways around the world stay open for trade, but we provide power projection that helps deter aggression from our enemies, hopefully preventing any other attempts similar to 9/11.”
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Driscoll and other New York sailors are proud to be part of a warfighting team that embodies the spirit, strength and resilience of the American people.
“I’m honored to be able to serve on USS New York,” added Driscoll. “The sacrifices made by the brave men and women of the NYPD, NYFD and NYPA inspire me on a daily basis.”
For more information about the Navy’s commemoration of 9/11, please visit www.history.navy.mil.