The Shipbuilders

Made in the USA by American Shipbuilders

"The shipyard’s motto 'Always Good Ships' is not just a phrase; it is a way of life here for over a century. There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that can describe how proud I am to be your fellow shipbuilder. Your integrity and patriotic commitments to excellence are without equal. Shipbuilders of Newport News, you are a national treasure." - Susan Ford Bales, Remarks at the Ford Christening Read full remarks

Read stories about Ford-class shipbuilders below.

Kennedy Shipbuilders Improve Safety on the Platen

"A shop with no ceiling. That's how Chipper Willie Clark a member of the CVN 79 Safety Task Team, describes the Final Assembly Platen (FAP) in the North Yard. Being outside in the elements, rain, snow, ice, wind, sun, heat..." Open the full article

Shipbuilders Install New Hi-Tech Hatches on Ford's Electromagnetic Weapons Elevators

"'You got five hinge points that need to be within one-sixteenth of an inch on the same axis,' said Brandon Brown, the foreman responsible for installing the hatch doors..." Open the full article

Meet Shipfitter John Harrell - The Mentor

"When Shipfitter John Harrell started working at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1974, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) was under construction. He thought he would work long enough to buy a car..." Open the full article

The North Yard Staging Crew

"'One of the things I like about this job is every day there's a new project and something different. But no matter what we do, we strive to make what we build as safe as possible because other shipbuilders have to use the staging, just like us...." Open the full article

Vontrease Williams is "Tougher Than Steel"

"Vontrease Williams says people are often surprised to learn she's an electrician helping to build the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). 'They feel like it's a woman doing a man's job,' the third-shift shipbuilder explained." Open the full article

Shipbuilders Reach 8.5 Million Feet of Cable Installed

“‘We really started pulling cable on this ship in 2011,’ said Ryan Hollowell, an electrician general foreman. At the peak, more than 800 electricians were involved with cable installation on CVN 78." Open the full article

Preparing Ford for SteamTesting

"James Collins is the fourth generation of his family to work at NNS. ‘My grandfather was an apprentice who started as a pipe fitter and ended up doing pipe design.” Open the full article

Shipbuilders Install Lighter Anchors on Ford

“'First, we reduced the weight of the ship forward where the new EMALS catapults are installed. Second, we eliminated the hydraulics...'" Open the full article

Shipbuilders Overhaul Pier 3 for Ford

“‘It was one of the fastest turnarounds we’ve ever done to get a pier ready for a new ship,’ said Scott Brubaker, manager of Waterfront Facilties." Open the full article

Preparing Ford to Meet the Water

"'A lot of people were involved in getting the dry dock ready for Ford to float,' said Roger 'Smitty' Smith, a shipbuilder instrumental in cleaning up the dry dock..." Open the full article

Putting on Ford's Final Piece

"John Wright III and Bobby Brockington proudly watched as the last piece of primary structure, a 66-metric-ton catapult unit they helped build, was lifted over the dry dock onto the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) aircraft carrier on May 7 (2013)..." Open the full article

John Edwards Named "Young Engineer of the Year"

"'That's the real impressive thing about the 3-D product model design of the Ford carrier. Many of these guys have never set foot on an aircraft carrier, but they're able to make something they see in their heads that the sailor is going to be able to use for the next 50 years..." Open the full article

Apprentice Crew of Shipfitters Erect Upper Bow

"'This was a challenge,' agreed Jeff Bilodeau, shipfitter foreman on the unit and also a craft instructor. His shipfitters were all apprentices working on their first aircraft carrier. 'We all like a good challenge...'" Open the full article

Lifting an Island with "Big Blue"

"'Ten-four. Hoisting the island,' Crane Operator Dave Rushing calmly responds as he checks all the settings before beginning the lift. After confirming with Lead Crane Rigger Curtis Eley that everything on the ground is ready, he turns on the crane siren..." Open the full article

Shipbuilders Place the Giant Bow Unit in Dry Dock

"Shipwrights Robert Balarabe, John Gateau, Matt Keller and Rob Messick agree there were a lot of eyes on the unit. Their shipwright team was involved before and after the bow was set on the keel blocks..." Open the full article