WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
I’m originally from Littleton,
I was in another department at
Newport News Shipbuilding. The department had extra workers and was
phasing them out. They asked me if I
wanted to come into shipbuilding
and I said “yes.” So I went to classes
here and they helped me out with my
job. I went to drawing school to learn
how to read [engineering] drawings.
Shipfitters have to go through welding training and safety training, and
have to learn how a ship is built.
A foundation fitter puts up steel
for the welders and foundations for
the Navy equipment, such as
radars that go on top of them. The
equipment just can’t sit all over the
ship. They have to have foundations that they sit on.
It’s not a boring job. There is
something new every day. And I
like working with my hands.
When you see the finished product, you really feel good about it.
Shipbuilding is kind of hard, but
then I’ve got a good mate [a shipfitter that I mentor] and he helps me
out a whole lot. We work together.
I like training people and he’s new
[about four years], and so I have
I like taking ownership because
it’s like a part of me. I always want
to be the best I can be. That’s where
my mate comes in. That’s what I
taught him — to do the job the
best you can because this is [his]
livelihood. We want them to be
safe when they go out there, so we
want to do a good job.
Almost everybody here has four
or five family members working
here. My daddy worked here. My
husband, Vaughn, has worked here
40 years as a shipfitter. We met
here. My daughter works here in
human resources. My niece is an
engineer for the shipyard. If you’ve
got a high school diploma, but no
further education, you could start
off here. When you come in here,
the shipyard helps you grow and
you can go to school and get fur-
I think that is the best way for
anybody who is doing shipbuild-
Rebecca Ann Boyd
NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING
NEWPORT NEWS, VA.
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