Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (P.S.N.S.)
The Puget Sounds Naval Shipyard was established as a naval yard in 1891. During the First World War, this yard built several new ships, including 25 submarine chasers, six submarines, two minesweepers, seven seagoing tugs, two ammunition ships as well as 1,700 smaller boats. Originally, this yard was a repair facility. It then expanded during World War I to include shipbuilding, and ship construction continued until 1979 when it began to focus solely on overhaul work on carriers and submarines.
During the Second World War, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard primarily worked to repair the damage from battle to the US ships as well as those of the allies. At the start of the war, this was the only yard on the Pacific with the facilities to handle large ships such as the battleships. After the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, five of six surviving battleships were sent back here for repair as well as modernization. However, you should keep in mind that shipbuilding was only a small part of the operations of this yard.
It was deemed in 1941 that no more than 20 percent of capacity of navy yards should be used for new construction of ships. The rest should be used for repair in the event of a war. Construction at Puget Sound was mostly limited to smaller vessels, like destroyer escorts. Most of their work was in repairing and upgrading existing ships.
P.S.N.S. also made use of six dry-docks, which was more than most shipbuilding companies of its time. The dry-docks all ranged in size, but dry-dock number five was the most impressive, measuring 1,030 feet long by 147 feet wide by 54 feet deep. Dry-dock No. 3 was considered to be the shipbuilding dock. It was used primarily for ship construction, and it was here that Puget was responsible for an innovation at the end of World War I. Instead of sliding the ship down the traditional incline to launch them, new vessels were launched by flooding the dock, an invention that is still used at countless shipyards today.
At the end of World War TII, P.S.N.S. began a program that involved modernizing carriers. This included the conversion of conventional flight decks into angled decks. In the Korean War, they entered a new era of construction that had not yet been tackled. They began building a new class of guided missile frigates. 1961 was also a great year, as they were designated as a repair facility for submarines. Another great innovation happened four years later when they were established as a nuclear capable repair facility. By 1987, they were the homeport of the nuclear carrier, USS Nimitz.
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard takes pride in being the biggest and most capable shipyard on the West Coast. It is also the second largest industrial facility in Washington in terms of employees as well as plant investment. The mission of the shipyard is to overhaul and repair a wide variety of ships and submarines for the United States Navy. It also takes pride in serving as the home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier, two nuclear cruisers and three fleet support ships.
The other capabilities of the yard include the alteration, construction, deactivation and dry-docking of many types of naval vessels. It also pioneered a state of the art emergency power generating system that can provide backup power for all ships in emergencies. As well as doing repair work on site, they also have a program that sends repair technicians on site for repair work. They are also the recipient of the 1991 Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award.
Many innovations have come from this shipyard. As of 1994, there was a civilian work force of 10,588 and a military work force of 330. The total annual payroll for this year was around $550M. The population in the surrounding area is around 200,000 people. The work force is comprised of 61 percent skilled laborers, 22 percent semi-skilled and one percent unskilled.
This shipyard is located adjacent to Bremerton and on the west side of Puget Sound. It is also located quite close to the US Navy's Trident Submarine Base, the Fort Lewis Army Base and the McChord Air Force Base. The shipyards in the Puget Sound also have the dark legacy of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, a rare cancer known only to be caused by prior exposure to asbestos. Workers in these yards should consult their physician for more information about mesothelioma.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.