PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's a big check that is sure to keep Pascagoula shipyard workers busy for the next few years. On Monday, Ingalls Shipbuilding announced the company has received $604 million to build the third of five guided missile destroyers contracted by the Navy as part of the DDG 51 program.
Some Ingalls retirees said they're delighted to see their former employer doing so well. Roger Aucoin said for 15 years his job at Ingalls Shipbuilding was the bread and butter that fed his family. Now retired, he believes a Navy contract to build guided missile destroyers will help keep current shipyard workers with a stable income.
"That's very good. That's very good for the stockholders," said Aucoin. "Very good for the work force because they've got guaranteed employment for the next three, four years and the DDG 51 program is an outstanding program. Ingalls has proven itself through three owners that they're an excellent shipyard and they'll do well with it."
Ingalls retirees said the additional work is also good news for those looking for opportunities to enter the workforce.
"I'm encouraging the young people that if you need a job and if you need to learn, it's good for you," said Mary Kind, retiree with 38 years at Ingalls. "We thank God for the new contract. We thank God for Ingalls because they have supplied a living for many, many people."
Those who spent decades as Ingalls employees say good news for the shipyard is good news for the entire area.
"As long as Ingalls is open and productive and they've got the employment levels that they do, the surrounding businesses are going to be supported by the people and that's including restaurants we are here and other businesses," said Aucoin. "Other support businesses. It should bring additional work force in too. Real estate is going to improve. So all in all, it's good for the community."