New Jersey Shipbuilders Overcome Challenges
Published August 16, 2022
A group of X43 shipbuilders were honored by Newport News Shipbuilding leaders for overcoming challenges to complete hydraulic testing and flushing for Virginia-class submarine New Jersey (SSN 796).
The hydraulic system is used to operate different ship systems. As a result of multiple factors, work on
SSN 796’s hydraulic system – which normally would have been completed before the submarine was launched into the James River – was delayed.
That meant shipbuilders had to complete this work with the submarine at the pier and not in more favorable conditions in the Modular Outfitting Facility (MOF). With a tight schedule to maintain, shipbuilders on first and third shift worked 12-hour shifts to successfully complete the job with minimal issues.
“I’m proud of them. It’s a heck of an achievement when the boat is not in the water, and they did a very good job with it in the water,” said Foreman Jonathan Gordon. “We were asking for a lot more, and it didn’t impact their performance.”
NNS President Jennifer Boykin and Jason Ward, vice president of Virginia-Class Submarine Construction, recently visited the shipbuilders to thank the team in person for a job well done.
Gordon was happy to see members of the team recognized for their hard work and sacrifice. While he praised the whole team, he was particularly grateful to Gary Nix. When the project started, Gordon – who typically leads the first-shift crew – went to third shift, and Nix – then a makeup foreman – led the first-shift crew. He has since become a full-time foreman.
“He did a fantastic job leading the charge on dayshift,” Gordon said.
Superintendent Alan Riley was also glad to see company leaders offer congratulations.
“The team seemed really proud,” he said. “We had a couple of veteran guys who led a very new group to be able to accomplish this. I think they realized it, and the experienced ones took up the leadership role and the newer folks stepped up to the plate.”