I spent 20 years as an enlisted sailor in the US Navy. I am a NAVSEA qualified quality assurance planner, quality control inspector and quality assurance supervisor. I have participated in more than 30 PC-1 Cyclone class WOO or CMAV projects, while simultaneously performing lead welder and ship superintendent duties for USS Whirlwind PC-11. I had the great privilege of doing 5 CV or CVN hull type Planned Incremental Availabilities, including the one that brought USS America back from an almost certain doom. I have personally opened and closed more Controlled Work Packages on Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCACs) at Assault Craft Unit 4 than I care to remember.
I have filled the role of QCI, execution metrics manager, shiprepair project manager, welding foreman, assistant welding foreman, welding inspector and pipe shop supervisor. I left my mark on numerous US Navy combatants to include 7 Arleigh Burke class DDG Extended Ship Repair Availability(s) or Extended Drydock Ship Repair Availability(s), USS Bataan’s Ship Repair Availbility, USS Arlington’s Post Shakedown Availability, 5 CV or CVN Planned Incremental Availabilty(s) and 2 Ticonderoga class cruiser Ship Repair Availability(s).
My education and training background include earning a Saint Martin’s University BA in business with a concentration in management 2017, Saint Martin’s University MBA in 2020, American Welding Society CWI #21107491, NAVSEA QCI and QAS, NAVSEA steam pipe welder. NAVSEA brazer, Defense Acquisition University courses ACQ 101 and a few others I can’t name right now.
I don’t mean to puff myself up. Instead I wish the strengthen the weight, the sway if you will, of my position. I’ve not been a commissioned officer in the military. In so far as shiprepair is concerned I’ve not often been impressed by them. I have studied the reference documents that serve as guidance for NAVSEA shiprepair contracts (NAVSEA Standard Items) and the execution thereof continuously for 14 years as a requirement to feed my children. It’s actually a very good system. It’s not well executed, all too often.
I want to take a coalition of the willing, those heavily invested in the welding world, the curious, the innovators, on a journey. I want to show you what’s wrong with welding and what we are doing to kill it. It’s a view from the inside that you will likely never be offered again. Some of it will be highly technical. There will be times when it will seem drub to the uninitiated. You may well laugh your pants off now and again.
I’ll do my best to translate some of the jargon with links that explain it. I like to use APA style inline citations to support my positions so you will never lack credible reference material to investigate some of my conclusions. All of the stories I will tell you are very tightly based on factual occurrences. I will change names to protect the guilty and shield myself and my patron from litigation.
Be warned. Feelings will be hurt. There will be exposures that will embarrass many a multimillion-dollar contractor. I am calling people out. And you will likely wonder why. My “why?” is the third sentence in this article. The military provides some of the best welding training in the world. I have seen more buffoonery, masquerading as welding expertise than I can stomach. There are too many charlatans; and it’s becoming normal. There needs to be some strong incentive within the industry to motivate systemic change. I hope to ruffle enough feathers to help provide them thusly.
Ephron - The welder
Ephron is the initiator of the “The death of welding” column of futureoftheocea.com.
Pictures: All pictures have been provided by Ephron from its own archive and from public sources.
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