Ingalls Shipbuilding honors workers as Master Shipbuilders - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ingalls Shipbuilding honors workers as Master Shipbuilders

(Image source: Huntington Ingalls Industries/Facebook) (Image source: Huntington Ingalls Industries/Facebook)

More than 300 Ingalls Shipbuilding employees from across the Gulf Coast region reached a significant milestone this year. Each employee that's worked with the company for 40 or more years of continuous service is being named a Master Shipbuilder. 

Geraldine Davis was just 17 when she took the job at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula. 

"I am the oldest of seven children," Davis said. "My mom was disabled, my dad was disabled, and I needed to help them out." 

Four decades later she is now a master Pipe Welder helping build several multimillion dollar war ships.

"I learned to come as a female and I could do whatever anybody thinks I can't do," Davis said. 

Mary Randle has also been committed to the job for 40 years.  She's also a third generation shipbuilder. 

"I can't comprehend doing anything else. This is such a large part of my life," Randle said. 

But Randle said a lot has changed at this Ingalls, from the name to the new technology.

"We went from 5x7 index cards maintaining records to computers, and that was a good," said Randle.

Fellow 40 year employee George Ray agrees. Throughout his time as a recruiter, he's watched the shipbuilding company grow into the state's largest private employer. 

"Another thing is helping other people. I am a people person. It has been fantastic to see people get jobs," Ray said.  

All three master shipbuilders said they love the job and feel like they are contributing to the safety of America by building ships. 

"When the guys go out to war, I have a part in that," Davis said proudly. 

"The quality of the ship has to be right. You can't do bad work when you send your boys to sea," Ray said. 

Employees like Mary Randle are now considering another 40 years, so they continue to produce state of the art ships. 

"I have no plans to retire." 

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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