New York The U.S. Navy commissioned the guided missile destroyer USS Bulkeley on Saturday, a few miles from where the World Trade Center once stood.
"There is no more fitting place to commission this ship as we stand in the shadow of Lady Liberty and within walking distance of ground zero," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
The ceremony began with a 21-gun salute, fired from the destroyer the USS Edson.
The Bulkeley will undergo at least a month of testing to work out technical problems and will be stationed in Norfolk, Va.
"Like each of the Navy ships before her, she sails to protect a way of life and our foundations of liberty and justice," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said. "The world she will sail into is a very different one than the ships that sailed before her, but like the warships of World War II, her mission is just as crucial."
The ship, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, is 509 feet long and weighs 9,300 tons. It is equipped with the Aegis combat weapons system, a highly advanced missile shield.
The Bulkeley will house a crew of approximately 380 officers and enlisted personnel. It is the 34th ship of its kind in use by the Navy.
The Bulkeley is named in honor of former Navy Vice Adm. John Duncan Bulkeley, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross and numerous other World War II citations.
Bulkeley was in command of a squadron of torpedo boats that carried Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur in a daring dash out of Manila Harbor in the Philippines in 1942.