PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - After Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office on Friday, we'll start seeing how he'll implement the promises of his campaign. Part of those promises included a build up of the military. For shipbuilding workers in South Mississippi, that buildup could mean more work and bottom line more money.
"He [Trump] wants to make America stronger again. And if you're going to make America stronger, you got to build more ships," said Ingalls employee Joe Ravita Jr. "If you're going to build more ships, our jobs are going to be secure."
Ravita's good feeling comes directly from what he's heard from the president-elect. Trump has called for the biggest military buildup since Ronald Reagan was president. Recently, the Secretary of the Navy and former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus recommended for the Navy's ship fleet to be increased to 355. Current Governor Phil Bryant is even more optimistic in Trump's buildup plan.
"He's talking about a 600 ship Navy," Bryant said. "We're a little under 300 right now. Just imagine that and if we get a portion of that at Ingalls the jobs that will be created building the most advanced warships in the world right here is something that we're eager to do."
Billy William has worked at Ingalls for the last 13 years and he would be glad to see new ships being built. But he also thinks it would be for a reason.
"We must plan on having another war then if you need that many Navy ships then you're going to keep building them," William said.
Right now, 12,000 employees have jobs at Ingalls. William said it's been years since he's seen so many crews working. While Joe Ravita Jr. added people continue flocking to South Mississippi with the hope of finding a job in the shipbuilding industry.
"There is a lot of people looking for work. And why are they all coming from all around the United States to come down here so they can work out there? It's because the economy and everything else is so bad everywhere else," Ravita said.
Ravita is so confident in what Trump can accomplish as President he just bought a new truck and is putting more in his 401K.
"I'm sleeping better at night, I think our future's brighter. I think the economy's going to come back better, our bank accounts, everything, real estate. It's all going to come back," Ravita said.
Last week, Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias told the Defense Daily publication that Ingalls is operating at 75 percent capacity.
"I can probably produce the ships faster than the Navy can provide funding," said Cuccias. "We are positioned right now to accelerate today."
Right now, nine military ships are under construction at Ingalls with another undergoing an overhaul. Work is also scheduled to begin next week on a guided missile destroyer.
Ingalls is currently building four classes of ships – DDG guided missile destroyers, LPD amphibious transport ships, LHA amphibious assault ships – all for the U.S. Navy. Ingalls is also building National Security Cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.