As the nation observes the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a Monroe native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship built using steel from the World Trade Center.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Mowell, was 4 years old swimming at his grandmother’s house when he saw on TV the planes crash into the buildings.
“I believe it’s crucial to remember all the heroes that gave their lives in response to the horrific event that happened on 9/11,” said Mowell.
Mowell joined the Navy 31⁄2 years ago.
“I joined the Navy to get real life and job experience to build my resume to find a successful career after my service,” said Mowell.
According to Mowell, a 2016 Walnut Grove High School graduate, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Monroe.
“Lessons that I have learned from my hometown, is that you have to respect other people to get respect for yourself,” said Mowell. “Also, I have learned that if you are methodical with your work and take your time, your end product is a lot more sufficient.”
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, 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 Mowell 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.
“Naval security is key to our nation’s defense because the easiest way to cripple a nation’s economy is by taking out its ports and its ability to import and export,” said Mowell. “This is why it’s important to national defense.”
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, Mowell 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 am both humbled and honored to be a part of the special bond that this ship and her crew shares with this namesake,” added Mowell.