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Philadelphia called 'appropriate location' for commissioning of USS Somerset

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Saturday, March 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Families of Flight 93 called Philadelphia an “appropriate location” to commission a Navy ship in memory of their loved ones.

Pennsylvania Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey have introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate encouraging the Navy to commission the USS Somerset in Philadelphia.

“The family organization is in full support,” Gordon Felt, president of the Flight 93 group, said Friday.

“I believe that is the most appropriate location, and I believe the families will strongly encourage the secretary of the Navy to do all he can that the commissioning will occur in Philadelphia,” said Patrick White, former group president.

Felt's brother, Edward, and White's cousin, Louis J. Nacke II, were among the 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. The passengers and crew fought back against terrorists who had commandeered the plane, which crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County. All on board died.

The USS Somerset is the ninth and newest amphibious warfare ship in the San Antonio class. The ship joins the USS New York and USS Arlington in remembering the 9/11 heroes.

The history of Flight 93 and its ties to Pennsylvania make Philadelphia a perfect location, Felt said.

“We thought it fitting that it be commissioned in the commonwealth,” he said.

Having the commissioning in Philadelphia will make it easier for more family members to attend, White said, because the majority live in the Northeast.

He attended the ship's christening last year in Avondale, La., which he called a “spectacular event.”

He said he expects the commissioning to be just as memorable.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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