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    NY Naval Militia christens new landing craft, bringing boat fleet to 11

    New boat for Naval Militia

    Photo By Ryan Campbell | The crew of the New York Naval Militia's latest landing craft, LC-351, form up in...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    The New York Naval Militia officially welcomed the latest addition to its patrol boat fleet on Saturday, April 30, during a ceremony on the Hudson River in Catskill, New York.

    A 35-foot landing craft-style boat built by the Munson Boat company of Burlington, Washington was christened LC-351 at Historic Catskill Point Park by Patricia Weill, the wife of Rear Admiral Lawrence Weill, the commander of the New York Naval Militia.

    New York purchased an identical craft—LC-350-- from Munson in 2018.
    LC-351 is 39 feet long and powered by two Mercury Optimax 250 horsepower outboard engines which can drive it to a top speed of 41 miles per hour. The boat has the ability to carry three tons of supplies, 27 people, or a small vehicle and additional supplies and put that equipment ashore.

    The boat cost $321,983 which was paid for by a federal maritime security grant.

    The New York Naval Militia, with a strength of 2,779, is the largest of the six state naval forces and was created in 1891 as the seagoing equivalent of the New York National Guard in the days before the creation of the Navy Reserve.

    Today the force is composed mostly of members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserve who agree to serve in the state force while simultaneously serving in their federal reserve capacity.
    Naval Militia members go on state active duty to put their military skills to work for the people of New York. They have responded to snowstorms, hurricanes and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic where they assisted at vaccination sites and logistics hubs.

    The Naval Militia’s Military Emergency Boat Service operates a fleet of 11 watercraft, now including LC-351, which can be used for maritime patrol. One boat, PB-440, works regularly with the United States Coast Guard in New York harbor.
    The ceremony was marked by the traditional breaking of a bottle of spirits on the bow of the boat and the three -man crew were then instructed to bring LC-351 to life by Army National Guard Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General of New York.
    Shields oversees the New York Army and Air National Guard, the Naval Militia and the New York Guard, a state defense force.
    In his remarks Shields praised the Naval Militia for their service during the pandemic and other New York emergencies.
    “Landing Craft 351 adds a huge capability to transport people and equipment to our state’s naval arsenal,” Shields said.
    Marcos Soler, New York’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety represented Gov. Kathy Hochul at the christening.
    The first landing craft was purchased, because Naval Militia patrol boats were used for emergency supply operations on Long Island following Superstorm Sandy in 2012. While the boats were effective, it was determined that a boat specifically configured to more cargo would be more useful.
    New York has 2,625 miles of Atlantic Ocean and Great Lakes coastline. The Erie Canal and other components of New York’s canal system is 514 miles long, the Hudson River is navigable for 134 miles, and Lake Champlain is 120 miles long.
    The boat was delivered to the New York State Armory in Leeds on March 22 and will now be based along the Hudson River, near two decommissioned nuclear power plants at Indian Point. LC-351 will be used for patrols in the sensitive area.
    The tradition of christening a boat by breaking a bottle of wine on it dates back to ancient times, explained Naval Militia Capt. Don McKnight, who heads the Military Emergency Boat Service.
    Ancient sailors would try to win favor with the sea god Neptune by offering food or drink to the god when launching a new ship.
    Today, special christening bottles are designed so that they break easily on the boat and are covered in mesh to keep glass from flying around.
    As the boat’s sponsor, Patricia Weill’s duty was to bash the bottle on the bow and ask for favorable seas for the boat and its crew.
    “It was a real honor to play a role in accepting the boat into service,” Weill’s said.
    Following the official ceremony, guests took a ride on the Hudson River to see firsthand the capabilities of LC-351.



    Date Taken: 05.02.2022
    Date Posted: 05.02.2022 14:16
    Story ID: 419757
    Location: CATSKILL, NY, US
    Hometown: CATSKILL, NY, US

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