A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing to stop the sale of a ship that played a key role in what is believed to be history's largest maritime rescue—the evacuation of an estimated 500,000 stranded civilians from lower Manhattan in the hours after the 9/11 attacks. The Coast Guard cutter Adak is due to be sold to Indonesia within days under what officials say is a policy decision made under the Trump administration, Fox reports. Lawmakers say the Adak, currently serving in the Persian Gulf, belongs in a US museum. "The idea of selling the Adak to a foreign country, especially now as we’re approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11, makes no sense," says Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York.
The 110-foot Adak helped co-ordinate rescue efforts, transport first responders, and establish a security zone after the attacks. James Judge—a veteran who served on the Adak for 13 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom—formed a nonprofit last year to bring the ship to a Florida 9/11 museum after hearing it would be retired, Bay News 9 reports. Zeldin and two Florida lawmakers, Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist and GOP Rep. Gus Bilirakis, have asked the State Department to put the sale on hold and consider providing Indonesia with another ship instead. The rescue of civilians from lower Manhattan on 9/11 was larger and faster than the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II, historian Jessica DuLong writes at CNN. With no plan to evacuate Manhattan in place, around 150 vessels of all kinds joined what began as a spontaneous boatlift. (Read more Coast Guard stories.)