USS Arlington display to be part of revamped Arlington government HQ

An artist rendition of the planned USS Arlington exhibition at the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center in Arlington.

After its renovation is wrapped up, a portion of the main floor at Arlington’s Ellen M. Bozman Government Center will be used to celebrate the county’s connection to its namesake U.S. Navy ship.

Using funding from the Arlington Police Beneficiary Association via the Arlington Historical Society, a model of the USS Arlington will be constructed as part of a display highlighting the ship, its crew and its connection to the county.

The model will cost about $8,000, with remaining funds to be used by the historical society on education efforts related to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the role played by local first-responders and the community in addressing it.

Having a ship-themed display at the government center in Courthouse was a desire of the USS Arlington Community Alliance, which grew out of the local community’s support for the Navy ship’s commissioning in 2013. The effort has the backing of the county government and its Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, said James Schwartz, a deputy county manager.

“The designers of the lobby renovation have taken into account the design [of the display],” Schwartz told the Sun Gazette. The multi-phase renovation is expected to start in August take about eight months, allowing for the display to be installed in early 2021, he said.

The USS Arlington – a 685-foot-long landing platform dock designed to speed supplies and U.S. Marines on humanitarian missions and to world trouble spots – was named in honor of the community’s response the 2001 terrorist attacks. It was the third U.S. Navy ship in modern times to bear the name “Arlington.”

Since its inception, there have been close ties between the ship and its namesake community. Most recently, members of the crew have made several visits to Oakridge Elementary School, participating in ship-building challenges and scientific experiments with students.

Currently, the ship is undergoing maintenance and required certifications in preparation for being returned to pre-deployment status later in the year. The ship’s commanding officer – U.S. Navy Capt. Paul Lanzilotta – is slated to rotate from his current assignment in May, and will be succeeded by U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Hill.

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