The first and second ships named Somerset retained the name carried at the time of their acquisition by the Navy during the Civil War and World War I, respectively, while the third Somerset (LPD-25) was named to honor the seven members of the flight crew and the 33 passengers embarked in United Air Lines Flight 93 on 11 September 2001 when it was hijacked by al Qaeda-linked suicide terrorists. Those on board the doomed plane bravely attempted to wrest control of the aircraft from the four hijackers, and Flight 93 crashed in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pa., well short of what most believed was a prominent target in Washington, D.C. "The courage and heroism of the people [on]board the flight will never be forgotten,” Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England declared, “and USS Somerset will leave a legacy that will never be forgotten by those wishing to do harm to this country."
Somerset (AK-212) and Somerset (PCE-892) were named for the counties in Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but the former was never commissioned, and the latter received her name while decommissioned and in reserve, and thus never carried that name.
(LPD-25: displacement 25,883 (full load), 19,208 (light); length 684'; beam 97'; draft 23'; speed 22+ knots; complement 396; troop capacity 699 (surge capacity 800); armament 2 30 millimeter (Bushmaster II), 2 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, 10 .50 caliber machine guns; aircraft, can launch or land 2 CH-53E Super Stallion or 2 MV-22 Osprey or up to 4 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or AH-1 or UH-1 helicopters; landing/attack craft 2 LCAC or 1 LCU; 14 expeditionary fighting vehicles/amphibious assault vehicles; class San Antonio)
The third Somerset (LPD-25) was laid down on 11 December 2009 at Avondale, La., by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems; launched on 14 April 2012; christened on 28 July 2012; sponsored by Mrs.Mary Jo Myers, the wife of General Richard Myers, USAF, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; delivered on 18 October 2013; and commissioned at Philadelphia, Pa., on 1 March 2014, Capt. Thomas L. Dearborn in command.
Mrs. Mary Jo Myers (right) breaks a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of amphibious transport dock LPD-25, officially christening Somerset on 28 July 2012. Also pictured (L-R) are Master Chief Larry Lynch, Somerset’s prospective command master chief; Lt. Cmdr. John Moore, Somerset’s prospective executive officer; Patrick White, president, Families of Flight 93 and keynote speaker for the ceremony; and Irwin F. Edenzon, President, Ingalls Shipbuilding. (Huntington Industries Photo 120728-N-ZZ999-001 Inc.)
Somerset transits the Gulf of Mexico during builder's sea trials on 19 August 2013. (U.S. Navy Photo 130819-N-ZZ999-001 courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. by Steve Blount)
After being visited by over 18,000 people during her visit to Philadelphia, including families of the passengers lost on board United Flight 93, Somerset departed that city on 4 March 2014, beginning her voyage to the West Coast. Proceeding via Mayport, Fla., the new amphibious transport dock transited the Panama Canal, and ultimately reached San Diego on 22 April.
Following her fitting out availability (28 April–9 June 2014), Somerset completed her combat systems qualification trials (CSSQT), punctuating the last two phases with a missile shoot on the ULM-4 Range (20 July). Later that summer, prior to her carrying out the rehearsal for her final contract trials (24–29 August), Somerset served as the host ship for the Mexican Navy’s sail training vessel Cuauhtemoc (BE-01) (15–19 August). The new amphibious ship then took part in San Diego’s Fleet Week festivities, hosting over 3,000 visitors (19–22 September), spending the remainder of September and into October preparing for the final contract trials (2–7 November). Following performance and special trials (8–18 December), Somerset, shortly before Christmas, welcomed the family of the late Richard Guadagno, who had perished in the crash of Flight 93, providing a tour of the ship and enabling them to visit the ship’s museum.
Capt. Leonard E. Reed (R), Somerset’s commanding officer, and Lt. Gen. Robert Abrams, U.S. Army (L), senior military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, visit the ship’s museum on 13 May 2015 during the ship’s five-month post-shakedown availability period. (U.S. Navy Photo 150513-N-CC789-100, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Vladimir Ramos)
The amphibious transport dock New Orleans (LPD-18) leads the Military Sealift Command aviation logistics support ship USNS Curtiss (T-AVB 4), Somerset, and the Mexican Navy patrol vessels Usumacinta (A-412) and Revolucion (P-164) in a simulated strait transit off the coast of Southern California during Dawn Blitz 2015 -- a multinational training evolution involving ships of the U.S., Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand. (U.S. Navy Photo150902-N-GM561-505, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina)
Somerset sailed on her maiden deployment as part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group during a voyage to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans (14 October 2016–15 May 2017). The group, which comprised amphibious assault ship Makin Island (LHD-8), Somerset, and dock landing ship Comstock (LSD-45), embarked the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Pendleton, Calif., together with Capt. Michael A. Crary, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 5, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, and detachments from Tactical Air Control Squadron 11, Assault Craft Unit 5, Fleet Surgical Team 5, and Beachmaster Unit 11, and worked with the armed forces of Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Oman, Djibouti, and Papua New Guinea. In addition, they visited ports in Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
“I am very proud of Somerset’s Blue and Green Team and their ability to quickly adapt to changing mission sets on this deployment,” Capt. Darren Glaser, the ship’s commanding officer, reflected. “From our participation in the first-ever theater security cooperation event with the newly-formed Sri Lankan Marine Corps, to our bilateral exercise with the Royal Omani Forces in Exercise Sea Soldier , and executing a range of amphibious operations in the Middle East, Somerset has worked extraordinarily hard during this deployment to accomplish every mission asked of us. The team can be proud that they truly lived up to the memory of this ship's 9/11 namesake and set an incredibly high bar on Somerset’s maiden deployment.”
||Date Assumed Command
|Capt. Thomas L. Dearborn
||1 March 2014
|Capt. Leonard E. Reed
||7 October 2014
|Capt. Darren W. Glaser
|Capt. William Sherrod
||2 November 2017
Detailed history pending.
Robert J. Cressman
1 March 2016
Updated by Mark L. Evans
19 March 2018