By Michael Welles Shapiro
12:15 PM AKST, January 2, 2013
Daily Press photographer Rob Ostermaier spent some time chronicling a day in the life of a late-shift welder at Newport News Shipbuilding.
The shipyard's welders ensure the structural integrity of the nation's aircraft carriers and submarines. The yard employs about 5,000 qualified welders, according to company spokeswoman Christie Miller.
And it's no wonder: When the shipyard's next aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, is finished, "welders will have used more than 3.5 million pounds of metal," Miller said.
"If welded in a straight line, the line would stretch 21,000 miles."
In Octoboer Ostermaier documented veteran welder Mike Short while he worked on the Ford, the first in a new class of nuclear-powered carriers.