staff writer, @damichelleg
May 7, 2013
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is asking the Navy to have the USS Somerset commissioned in the state.
The House unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday written by state Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Allegheny Township. The goal of the resolution is to have the commissioning ceremony in Philadelphia.
“It is fortunate,” Metzgar said of the unanimous vote. “It’s not often the Philadelphia legislators and I are on the same page.”
Metzgar said the resolution asks the president and secretary of the Navy to conduct the commissioning in Philadelphia. The ceremony places the ship into active service.
“I encourage anyone interested to write the secretary of the Navy and the president,” he said. “All the help we can get would be appreciated.”
Metzgar said the ship is scheduled to be commissioned in January.
The ship honors the passenger of Flight 93, which crashed in Stonycreek Township on Sept. 11, 2001. It joins the USS New York and USS Arlington.
The ship has many connections to Somerset County. Each municipality gave a road sign for use on the ship. Steel from a dragline at the Flight 93 crash site and wood from the Route 219 project is also being used in the ship.
In February U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey wrote to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus asking that the commissioning ceremony be held in Philadelphia. He and Sen. Bob Casey introduced legislation to encourage the Navy to commission the ship in Philadelphia in March. U.S. Reps. Bill Shuster and Keith Rothfus introduced similar legislation in the House.
The address for the secretary of the Navy is Office of the Secretary of the Navy, 2000 Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20350. The address for the president is The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 20500.