Beam “Tops Out” JMAF

Published July 20, 2021

A construction crew lifts the highest beam at the Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility. Photo by Ashley Cowan

Construction crews lifted in place the highest beam at Newport News Shipbuilding’s Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility (JMAF) Friday, July 16. The beam “topped out” the Ship Join Bay and completed the steel structure of the shipyard’s tallest building.

“This is a longstanding tradition in the construction world, particularly for the steelworkers,” said Mike Kehoe (O41). “When they finish the highest point of the structure, they have a ceremony like this and they typically put up an American flag that’s lighted at night.”

The beam was painted white and anyone who participated in the building’s construction to this point was invited to sign it. True to tradition, an American flag is attached with a solar-powered light. During a short ceremony to commemorate the occasion, Jim O’Brien, director of Facilities, thanked construction crews for their work at the site while explaining the importance of the submarines the facility will be used to help build.

“Know that what you’re doing out here makes a difference to our country and to every one of us,” he said.

The Ship Join Bay is expected to open in February.