December 16, 2020 – Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) is currently working on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Pasadena (SSN 752), USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and USS Alabama (BB 60). Wait! USS Alabama?
NNSY was one of the industry players to help build up America’s seagoing strength by constructing 30 major vessels during World War II (1939 – 1945). Tasked April 1, 1939 to build the fourth and final USS South Dakota class battleship, USS Alabama (BB 60), 3,000 men and women worked 24-hour days for 30 months to complete the project nine months ahead of schedule.
Eighty-one years later, shipyard employees came together to renovate the USS Alabama float. The float has participated in parades for the City of Portsmouth, City of Norfolk, City of Suffolk, as well as other cities located in Hampton Roads. This is the first time the float is undergoing this much renovation since it was first built in the early 1980s.
“The trailer that the Alabama was sitting on had reached its end of service life,” said NNSY Executive Support Department Command Facility Manager Ty Haughn. “In addition, the ship itself needed body and structural repair, and to be completely repainted.”
Shipyard employees, from 3-D designers to flange turners, to welders, to lofters, to painters among other trades joined together and formed a team to help promote pride, both within and outside of the shipyard.
“I’ve seen the float in parades before, but I can’t wait to see it in future parades after the renovation,” said NNSY Shipfitters Shop (x 11) Lofter Jason Bishop. “I can’t wait to tell my son at the next parade that I knew the people who made it look awesome again.”
The Alabama’s new trailer is lower than its previous trailer, thus allowing people to see the fine and intricate details of the float they couldn’t see before. The float will also receive 3-D printouts of ports, hatches and gun turrets to make it the more realistic.
“We have plans to restore the carbon dioxide system to recreate the guns firing and to come up with a system that would simulate diesel engine smoke coming out of the stacks,” said Haughn.
Renovating the float consisted support from the Shipfitter Shop (Shop 11), the Welding Shop (Shop 26), the Sheet Metal Shop (Shop 17), the Boat Shop (Shop 64), the Lifting and Handling Department (Code 700), Rigging and Equipment Operations (Code 940), the Executive Support Department (Code 1100), Executive Support Department Facilities (Code 1101.5) and the Public Affairs Office (Code 1160).
As community events resume, the float will continue to be showcased during parades, sporting events, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) events, job recruiting fairs, and other community outreach events to proudly show the legacy and service of America’s Shipyard.