Two welders at Newport News Shipbuilding are preparing to display their skills at the Aug. 27 keel laying ceremony for Enterprise (CVN 80) – and they are proud to share the spotlight.
Ephony King and Jonathan Rishor have been selected to weld the initials of the ship’s two sponsors, Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, onto steel plates that will be affixed to the Ford-class aircraft carrier.
Any job requires preparation and practice, but that’s especially true when you’re in front of hundreds of people and a livestream audience. King and Rishor say they’ll be ready.
“We’re going to get it right before we get there,” said King, a five-year NNS employee and recent graduate of The Apprentice School.
“It’s going to turn out great. I know it will,” added Rishor, who has worked at NNS for more than five years.
Both welders have been given writing samples. King will weld the initials of gymnast Biles, whose handwriting “is all waves,” King said.
Rishor will handle Ledecky’s initials. The standout swimmer’s writing includes an intricate G – her middle name is Genevieve – that will require practice, said Rishor.
In a nod to history, the two steel plates that will display the sponsors’ initials come from the former Enterprise (CVN 65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier now inactive and moored at NNS.
Rishor served in the Navy and recalled a memorable moment involving CVN 65. In 2012, as CVN 65 headed home on its final deployment, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) relieved the ship. Rishor worked on the Ike’s flight deck, and as the two giants passed in the Atlantic Ocean, “I had the best seat in the house.”
King and Rishor were selected for the keel laying ceremony based on their consistent, quality performance.
Foreman Richard Watson said he tapped Rishor because he “is dependable, takes pride in his work and goes above and beyond to produce a first-time quality product.”
On being selected, Rishor said, “I feel honored, for sure.”
Foreman John Harrell said picking King was an easy choice. “The first person I thought of was Ms. King,” he said. “Every day she comes in, she welds works of art.”
King plans to make the most of the moment. “It’s not every day you get recognized for your talent,” she said.
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