VERONA, NJ – With the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks just days away, many townships are planning services to remember the lives lost, but one Verona native has a daily reminder of the 9/11 tragedy.  Ensign Mark Bovich serves in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS New York, which was built using steel from the World Trade Center. 

Bovich, a 2011 graduate of St. Peter’s Preparatory High School, said serving on the ship reaffirms his decision to serve and reminds him why he chose to do so. 

“I grew up in New Jersey and I'm from a house that's close to a park where I watched the towers fall as a kid, which is why I wanted to join the military,” Bovich said. "When I was in school, my teacher took me to tour a ship that was in New York and it was this ship."

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USS New York’s bow was forged from steel salvaged from the wreckage of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.  The Navy says it 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, the Navy said.

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.  Bovich serves as a main propulsion division officer responsible for the maintenance and care of the engines and generators.

The USS 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.

“I like working with the people I get to work with,” said Bovich. "Everyone is from different walks of life and they are very knowledgeable about what they are doing."

As he serves, Bovich said he is constantly learning and striving to be the best leader, sailor and person he can be by handling numerous responsibilities, meeting deadlines, and developing lasting professional relationships.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New York. More than 400 men and women make up the ship's crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. An additional 700 Marines can be embarked when needed.  USS New York is capable of transporting the Marines and landing them where they are needed via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and landing craft.

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

Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice as well.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships, Bovich said he and other New York sailors are proud to be part of a war-fighting team that embodies the spirit, strength and resilience of the American people.

“Serving on a ship with steel from the World Trade Center keeps me from wondering why I do what I do,” said Bovich. "Seeing the people of New York telling me how much this ship means to them is a very humbling experience."