PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - They build America's war ships and repaired the USS Cole after it was bombed by terrorists. Shipyard workers at Huntington-Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula take patriotic pride in doing their part to fight the ongoing war against terrorism.
They also have some strong reactions to the death of Osama Bin Laden.
The killing of Bin Laden was "the" big news throughout the shipyard on Monday. At shift change, workers reacted with understandable enthusiasm.
"A happy day, man!" shouted one shipyard worker, who was leaving for the day.
"A joyful thing for one thing. I know a lot of people are glad to see a thing like that happen," said Randy Viverette. "He destroyed this country, basically. We've been having this problem since he did that."
The pride of workmanship that accompanies most manufacturing jobs runs so much deeper here. Shipyard workers appreciate that fact that they're not just welding plates of steel together; they're contributing to America's national defense.
"I think about somebody's son or daughter is going to be sailing on that ship and they're out there fighting for our country, and that stays on our mind a lot," said Tim Ryals.
"I used to be in the military, so I know exactly what they're going through when they're on that boat 24-7. They have to have the highest quality production that we can give 'em," said Michael Jackson.
Mark Velazquez said their role is simple, "We've got to keep our troops ready with top defense."
Many of these shipyard workers helped restore the badly damaged USS Cole after it was bombed by terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda. That ship building assignment left lasting memories.
"He was a very big threat even to the Cole back then. And a lot of people I work with now worked on the Cole and there's just a lot of sentimental value," said Tammy Peterson.
"Nobody want to see anyone killed, but if anybody deserved it, he deserved it," said Ryals.
Along with repairing the Cole, shipyard workers here also built the Arlington, a ship that recognizes the tragedy of 9/11 and the heroic response which followed. Like all ships built by these Pascagoula workers, a lot of pride and patriotism went into that project.
"Of course there is. You never know who's going to be on a ship. You've got your family, your loved ones. Everybody wants it to be number one," said Peterson.