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DVIDS – News – Connected by Service: NNSY Employees Share Connection in Efforts That Saved US Soldiers’ Lives

In early 2006, Michelle Lappin was an Army reservist deployed overseas, her unit’s primary mission being to transfer fuel and rations from base to base. En route to their destination, she was a passenger on one of the two-person trucks when she noticed other vehicles starting to swerve past them. “And then all of a sudden there was a ball of fire right in front of our faces,” Lappin said, recalling the day a 60-millimeter improvised explosive device (IED) hid under a sandbag along their route had exploded from a distance as they passed. by.

Fortunately, this incident resulted in few injuries, one of two such incidents she faced during her deployment. Lappin credits a huge factor in how their lives were saved was largely due to the armor placed on the trucks. In 2015, now a civilian and working at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), she soon learned that the American shipyard had in fact played a huge role in armoring and preparing these trucks in 2005.

“It was so special to find out that this shipyard helped save my life and so many other lives in their efforts,” Lappin said. “And I always wondered if I could meet some of the members who worked on those trucks.”

Fast forward to early 2022, where now Department of Operations (Code 300) Quality Advocate Lappin joined fellow NNSY Chapter 3 members of the Federal Managers Association (FMA) for the national convention at Washington, DC During the Day on the Hill event, members had the opportunity to speak with congressional staff about the challenges of not getting the right funding on time. Lappin stepped forward to share her personal story to help put the issue into perspective – and that’s when he clicked Code 930 area manager Anthony Britton – they shared a connection.

Coming from a military family, Britton had himself joined the navy at an early age. He was stationed on the USS Coral Sea (CV 43) which was serviced at the US Naval Shipyard during his time and he immediately fell in love with what would become his yard as a civilian. He was discharged from the Navy in September 1987 and came through the doors as an employee of NNSY in October of that year, also joining the reserves to continue serving the mission of protecting our nation.

“In 2005, NNSY was asked to go overseas and help get trucks armored and ready to go,” Britton said. “I was itching to join the effort and when I got there I didn’t want to leave. Seeing the work we were doing directly impacting our soldiers was a great experience for me and the shipyard crews who went there. I always knew the work we were doing was important, but we had never really been able to make that connection before. And then I heard Mrs. Lappin start speaking at the convention and knew right away that she was one of the soldiers we helped make a difference for. I spoke and shared my story with his and at the end of it; there was no longer a dry eye in the room.

“Unbeknownst to anyone, I was sitting at this same table with someone whose efforts directly affected my time in service — whose efforts helped keep us alive,” Lappin said. “I can’t say for sure that my specific vehicle was handled by NNSY teams, but their relationships and efforts have saved millions of lives, including mine. Being able to learn that connection and being able to say thank you in person was so special to me.

“It really underscores the importance of doing our job well and serving the mission every day,” Britton said. “What we do here at America’s Shipyard saves lives and you never know who you can support in what you do.”

Lappin added: “You never know the impact of what you do and how it affects the person next to you who is leading you or being led by you. With everything we do there are impacts and connections that are made and we are in this together to serve our fleet and our nation. I never thought I would meet someone who helped save my life and yet here we are. And I will continue to meet fellow shipyards who have also been instrumental in armouring our vehicles and thank them in person as well. For everyone I haven’t been able to meet or talk to, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our nation. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

Date taken: 13.06.2022
Date posted: 13.06.2022 08:46
Story ID: 422777
Location: PORTSMOUTH, Virginia, USA

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