Master Shipbuilders Earn the Rank

A lot goes into making sure the ships built at Ingalls in Pascagoula are war ready. Ingalls Shipbuilding has plenty of experienced workers, some who have been working there for 40 years or more.
As News 25’s Gina Tomlinson shows us, tomorrow they will be rewarded for their hard work and dedication.
“What you do today matters” is the sign shipyard employee Larry Girouard sees when he goes into work each day and after 40 years, he knows it is true. “We’re building a nation’s defense for young sailors to go out and knowing we put them in a safe ship when they go out.”
Navy and Coast Guard ships built at Ingalls Shipyard wouldn’t leave the port if it wasn’t for those working hard to tie it all together. Girouard has worked here since 1976. On Thursday, he and nearly 100 fellow workers, who have put in 40 years with the shipyard, will be honored as master shipbuilders. “We built the next line of U.S.S. America ships out here. I was able to help build it from the ground up to the top,” said Girouard.
And helping the ships build the structure they need to make it to the top, Pipe Superintendent Luella Farmer will also become one of the now 386 master shipbuilders. “The details that we build that goes toward the ship that’s supporting our own Navy guys, to keep them safe out of harm’s way,” said Farmer.
All of these different positions each play a critical role in designing ships. Some of these workers say they’ve worked on 20 to 70 ships throughout their career. Sonar Test Electrician Lawrence Washington said, “It don’t even seem like it’s been that long. It don’t even seem like it. I’m ready to go 40 more.”
Although every vital task is different, the master shipbuilders work together to make sure the final design is safe as our military sets out to protect and defend our freedom. “We helping one another train and we making it happen. That keeps me coming in here, too,” said Washington.

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