A tribute to an Afghanistan war soldier sailed into New York Harbor this weekend.
The brand new Staten Island Ferry is named in honor of the late Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis. The island native died in 2013 while serving in Afghanistan.
The ferry had been scheduled to arrive two years ago but in 2018, Hurricane Michael heavily damaged the shipyard where it was built. Then the pandemic pushed its arrival yet again.
MV SSG MICHAEL H. OLLIS, Hull 219, is the first of three new "Ollis Class" ferries soon to join the city's fleet. Engineers say the new ferries are equipped with new features, including phone-charging outlets and a promenade on the upper deck to serve as a "walking track" for passengers.
After arriving in New York City, the ferry will undergo cleaning at Caddell Dry Dock and further training trials before it's given the green light to carry passengers in the fall.
Ollis was killed shielding fellow soldiers from a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on August 28, 2013, while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 24-year-old was from New Dorp and joined the Army in August 2006 after graduating from high school. He previously did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.