Ingalls Spotlight | Russell Sand Jr., 2023 Overall Apprentice of the Year

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On Sat., March 16, HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division hosted their apprentice graduation. One apprentice set a standard of excellence among his peers, Russell Sand Jr., and was named the 2023 Overall Apprentice of the Year. Below is a story about Russell and his time in the program.

After consistent nudging from his father-in-law to join the shipyard, Russell Sand Jr. finally gave in. Off to an impressive start to his career, Russell has been recognized as the 2023 Overall Apprentice of the Year. 

 “It’s been a smooth process for me since I walked through the gates,” said Russell. “Ingalls has given me the opportunity to grow, and I’m proud of my decision to become a shipbuilder.”

The Overall Apprentice of the Year award goes to the shipbuilder with the highest overall score and ranking within the apprenticeship program. 

Russell took advantage of his opportunities during the rigging apprenticeship, learning different aspects of shipbuilding. By understanding blueprint reading, production control and ship management, the program helped Russell figure out the best career path for him at Ingalls. 

“The apprenticeship was a great experience. I enjoyed the classes, teachers and time spent with other apprentices,” said Russell. “The program provided me with the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as an Ingalls shipbuilder.”

In addition to being named the Overall Apprentice of the Year out of all graduating crafts, Russell is also the 2023 Rigger Apprentice of the Year.

In his role, Russell supports other shipbuilders by preparing heavy loads to be moved by crane as a transportation rigger. He’s also responsible for safety checks, safe load preparation and team communication to get the job done safely. His success is a result of guidance and motivation from peers.

“My fellow rigging apprentices and instructors pushed me as we went through classes and rotated through our craft,” said Russell. “Curt Overstreet, my transportation foreman, helped me through the process by giving me words of advice to be a better person and rigger.”

Going through the apprenticeship program, Russell understands the importance of his role in the shipyard. Seeing ships throughout their life – from the beginning when the keel is laid to the end when it is delivered – gives him a great sense of accomplishment.  

“Our purpose as shipbuilders is to build the best warships in the world that will protect the best military personnel in the world,” said Russell.  “It’s an honor and privilege to help provide that service.”

Congratulations, Russell Sand Jr.!

For more information about Ingalls Shipbuilding’s apprentice school visit

A link to the Ingalls Shipbuilding apprentice graduation can be found here HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding Celebrates Apprentice Graduates – HII


Danny Hernandez

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