MAYPORT, Fla. — As the nation prepares to observe the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks’ 15th anniversary, a 2000 Crestview High School graduate and Crestview native serves in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built with the World Trade Center’s steel.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jessie Newton, a hospital corpsman aboard USS New York, is responsible for medical assistance to ships personnel. USS New York, one of the Navy’s most advanced ships, delivers Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts.

Homeported in Mayport, Florida, USS New York, named for the state of New York, is 684 feet long, 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.

Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport and land elements of a landing force for a variety of warfare missions. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups.

In addition, the ships have been, and will continue to be, called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

Serving in the Navy and aboard New York, Newton said he is constantly learning how to be the best leader, sailor and person possible by handling numerous responsibilities, meeting deadlines and forging lasting professional relationships.

“I like that my job gives me the opportunity to help people,” he said. "Also, the knowledge I’ve gained through my job is very usable after I finish with my Navy career.

 “Being aboard this ship is cool because of the historical significance of the ship. I was in the Navy when 9/11 happened, so to serve aboard this ship is an honor."

More than 400 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly. Crewmembers do everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining engines.

“The sailors who serve aboard USS New York are exceptional in so many ways,” said Capt. Kenneth M. Coleman, the ship’s commanding officer.  “They represent some of the hardest working and most dedicated Americans I have served with in 25 years of naval service.  They exhibit an impressive level of pride for serving onboard a ship that means so much to so many Americans.  I am honored to lead this crew and be a part of the special bond that this ship and her crew shares with her namesake.”

Collectively, the San Antonio-class ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships, providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms.