Flags Over BIW

[Post by Chuck Krugh, July 10, 2023]

As a patriotic American, I really enjoy seeing our American flag flying proudly. I like seeing it everywhere. At my home in St. Louis, I fly the American flag 365 days a year (and yes, it is lit up at night). In fact, when my house there was being built, I installed the flag pole and started flying our flag before our home was finished. I’m very proud to have served our country in the U.S. Army at the start of my career and extremely proud to serve our country again near the end of my career, here with you – building these ships that will help keep our country and families safe!

It’s important that BIW takes the opportunity to display our pride in our country and to demonstrate it to our community. One of the impressive ways we can do this is by flying the American flag from our cranes. Whenever I drove across the Sagadahoc Bridge during the Fourth of July and the weekend leading up to it, seeing all the flags flying was an impressive sight. It makes a powerful statement to everyone who sees them!

My purpose this week is to recognize the team that makes flying the flag from our cranes – a seemingly (and deceptively, it turns out) simple request – into reality. I didn’t really think about it much until last Wednesday morning as I was walking out on the deckplates. As I was heading down toward Pier 2, I saw a group of people laying out a protective layer of plastic and preparing to lower the American flag to take it off of 5 Crane. As you probably know, I couldn’t help myself from walking over and talking to the group.

As I watched them prepare to lower the flag, it struck me that this simple request requires a team to make it happen. Facilities personnel, Crane Operators and Riggers work together to attach the flag, to raise it and then to lower the flag when we are ready to put the crane back into supporting production.

You may not think about the task of attaching the flag to the choker hanging from the crane’s hook. However, it takes careful planning and execution to ensure the flag hangs properly and unfurls just as if it was attached to a flagpole. The flag also must stay attached to the choker regardless of the wind conditions. This supposedly small project is actually truly impressive. I conceptually knew how they did it, but I didn’t have the detailed knowledge that I do now. I gained respect for what this team did to make our facility look great for the Fourth of July.

I cannot thank the team that makes this happen enough for flying the American flag over our facility!

For those of you who had the opportunity to see it, I hope you feel the same way I do. For those who missed it, you will have probably two more times this year to see our nation’s flag fly over our shipyard!

Thanks again and see you on the deckplates!

Safely Execute High-Quality Work

President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

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