Ingalls Workers Share Pride In USS Ticonderoga

When each of these shipyard workers began their careers here over 20 years ago, little did they realize each of their various skills would contribute to such greatness as the guided missile cruiser Ticonderoga.

They say they were simply doing their jobs.

"I was a sheet metal apprentice. It was like my career beginning in a new ship design beginning, so I can remember it," said Verdie Ryals.

"We used to work in electronic spacing. Building the catwalk and putting a deck down in electronic spacing during that time. Also we had bulletproofing going around that ship. We used to do that too," said Luther Etheridge.

"I was an outside machine apprentice at the time. We had just started an apprenticeship program when I went on the ship and we worked everything from the auxiliary top items to the main engine part of the ship and whatever was there that needed to be done, it was done," said Kevin Newbill.

These and other assignments helped to produce the first ship of its class, and for that, these workers take great pride in seeing their hard work pay off in a ship used to help protect our country.

"It's kind of nostalgic to you that that one has served its purpose and now their moving on to something else," said Newbill.

"It shows we put a lot of quality into it for it to have lasted this long, so everybody that worked on it should be proud," said Ryals.

On the other hand, the ship represents more than just a job well done.

There may be some symbolism in the Ticonderoga setting sail on its final mission.

"That's making me seem old too. Seem like it's almost about time for me to have my rest," said Etheridge.

After this final mission, the U-S-S Ticonderoga will be decommissioned on September 30.