It’s the American Dream. Hard Work Does Pay.

Wayne Magro: Started August 18, 1959 as an Electrician; Retired as a Program Manager

My first impression was, the yard was mass confusion and chaotic – people all over the place.

There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason. But once I got into the culture, it had rhyme and reason. They knew how to build submarines.

It just would amaze me as a young kid – here’s this flat piece of plate and the next thing you know it’s curved and it’s going into the side of a cylinder. I wanted to learn everything I could. I would take it upon myself and go to areas where I wasn’t working. And I wasn’t afraid to go ask somebody, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it that way?”

You’d get paired with an old-timer who’d show you everything. They were hard-nosed, worked like hell and then played like hell. But if you asked them, they’d tell you anything you wanted to know. They were proud of their work and they did their work. There was no question, if they had to come in Saturday or Sunday to do it, they were there. Their job came first.

You would go from boat to boat to boat on the same job. You’d make some mistakes and you’d say, “Wait a minute.” There was a lot of discussion with the design guys. We used to deal with a guy named Spellman. “You got the widget going this way, wouldn’t it be easier to go this way?”

Vic Burdick was a ship manager. He’s another one who took me under his wing. At night we’d walk out through the machine shop, going up to the gate. He’d say, “What is that? What is that? What is that?” So my friend Dave and I used to come in early and go through the machine shop, read the plans. We learned a lot.

To me, that’s the American dream. I went there with no education. Just hard work. I mean hard work. They were great to me. They really were. I appreciate that. I’m trying to pass this on to my grandchildren. Hard work does pay. Look at us.