Past connects with future

Apprentice graduates enter PHNSY workforce

PHNSY & IMF Public Affairs

Lewis Walters was a 16-year-old apprentice at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard when he answered the urgent radio call that “all government workers report to your assigned duty stations” on Dec. 7, 1941.

He avoided strafing by attacking aircraft, helped remove casualties from one of the stricken ships and moved ammunition to resupply ships as they fought back.

Six months later, he was part of the repair efforts that enabled USS Yorktown who played a pivotal role in the Navy’s victory in the Battle of Midway.

Walters and Clifford Chun, a shipyard laborer who also responded to the call on Dec. 7, are living reminders of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facilities (PHNSY & IMF) legacy of service.

Both joined 300 family members and guests to congratulate 85 new journey workers upon their graduation from the Shipyard’s Apprentice Program Aug. 11 at the Historic Hickam Officers’ Club.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, she stressed the important role they assume in the defense of the nation.

“Those of you who work in the shipyard are essential to the protection of this great country,” Hanabusa said.

“And we know that even more today.”

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono also congratulated the newest shipyard workers.

“Today is important because of the purpose of your work,” Schatz said.

“You are the backbone of the shipyard, and by extension, the Navy.”

Hirono’s message bridged the past to the present, as she reflected on current events.

“Given what’s going on in the world today, the work you have done and the training you have received is very important,” Hirono said.

“We need workers like you to maintain, repair and overhaul the ships and submarines in our fleet.”

The graduates, representing 12 shops and 10 trades, completed four-year, full-time, paid apprenticeships that combined academic study with on-the-job work experience.

Capt. Greg Burton, PHNSY & IMF commander, recognized the service of Walters and Chun as part of long tradition of men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty throughout the history of the shipyard.

Burton also welcomed the new journey workers to this legacy.

“Today, each one of you formally takes your place in a legacy steeped in the shipyard’s core values of Honor, Courage, Commitment, and Aloha — and the Navy attributes of Integrity, Accountability, Initiative and Toughness,” Burton said.

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Category: News