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USS Arlington: Fundraising Under Way for Commissioning

Group hopes to raise $450,000 for the U.S. Navy vessel, the third named after Arlington County.

In the second-floor atrium at 2100 Clarendon Blvd., just outside the County Treasurer's Office, the occasional image of an intimidating U.S. Navy vessel appears with the words, "25,000 Tons of Peacekeeping Named Arlington."

The USS Arlington — the third ship to be named for this county — is undergoing its sea trials and is slated to be officially commissioned in April in Norfolk.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts are under way to make that commissioning a success.

County Treasurer Frank O'Leary, who is on the commissioning committee, said the goal is to raise $450,000.

"It's a daunting task," he said. "We really want to get the entire Arlington community behind it."

The USS Arlington is the eighth San Antonio class of landing platform docks, or LPDs. Such ships are about 684 feet long, carry a crew of 360 sailors and can support a surge force of up to 800 Marines.

The Arlington will be able to land two tanks and carry up to four aircraft, O'Leary said.

"It doesn't have the sex appeal of, say, an aircraft carrier, but it's doing a very important mission," O'Leary said. "It's kind of like having, I don't know, a truck versus a Cadillac."

Arlington's sister ships have already served as flagships for anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and have provided humanitarian assistance and foreign disaster relief operations in support of the government of Haiti, according to a 2010 news release.

Funds raised will help pay for the commissioning ceremony and a special tribute room aboard the ship that will be designed to tell the story of the 184 men and women who died in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and first responders from Arlington County and surrounding communities. Steel debris from the Pentagon will be on display in that room.

"It's going to be cruising around the world for the next 40 years or so, and wherever it goes, it's going to take this message," O'Leary said.

Funds raised also will be used to buy amenities for the Arlington's crew.

The USS New York and the USS Somerset were also named in honor of 9/11 victims.

To make a donation, or for more information, visit the USS Arlington's commissioning website.

Mark Blacknell September 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Oh, wow. I can't think of a less important fundraising target than this. Kim Kardashian's next bachelorette party, maybe? This is paid for (many times over, I'd say). Shove it out there and let it do its job. The folks paying for a party to do that? Should reconsider their priorities.
Don September 26, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Agree 100%

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