Northrop Grumman, The Mariners' Museum, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Navy have teamed to construct a full-scale replica of the Civil War ironclad USS
Monitor. The replica will be the centerpiece of the $30 million USS Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va. More than 100 employees of Northrop Grumman's Newport News sector will build the replica in 22 steel sections inside the shipyard's steel production facility from Navy-donated materials. Construction of the ship's hull is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2005. The sector's Apprentice School recently completed the first section, the keel unit.
Weighing approximately 18 tons and about the size of a rail car, the keel unit will be transported to the USS Monitor Center on Feb. 26 for a public keel-laying ceremony on Mar. 6 at 3 p.m.
"We are proud to be a part of this special project and to have the opportunity to rebuild a piece of history that our employees, their families and the entire Hampton Roads community can visit and learn about for many years to come," said Mike Petters, president, Northrop Grumman Newport News. Nancy Petters, Petters' wife, will serve as keel authenticator for the ceremony by chalking her initials onto a metal plate. Her initials will then be welded onto the plate and permanently affixed to the Monitor replica.
Since 2000, Northrop Grumman Newport News employees have volunteered their help and expertise to the Monitor recovery project by off-loading artifacts at shipyard piers and docks, constructing conservation tanks at The Mariners' Museum and performing topographical ultrasonic inspections and X-rays of the recovered items. The sector also made a $250,000 contribution to the USS Monitor Center Capital Campaign in 2004.
"Northrop Grumman's involvement in the USS Monitor project
at The Mariners' Museum has been nothing short of phenomenal," said The Mariners' Museum President and CEO, John B. Hightower. "The Monitor project would simply not be possible without the shipyard's involvement. From welding, rigging, chemistry coating experts, metallurgists and financial support, the help from Northrop Grumman has been invaluable."