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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

The Many Ways To Die While Building an Aircraft Carrier

00:00 47:18
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Tip the Empire State Building onto its side and you’ll have a sense of the length of the United States Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the most powerful in the world: the USS John F. Kennedy. Weighing 100,000 tons, Kennedy features the most futuristic technology ever put to sea, making it the most dangerous aircraft carrier in the world.
Only one place possesses the brawn, brains and brass to transform naval warfare with such a creation – the Newport News Shipbuilding yard in Virginia and its 30,000 employees and shipyard workers.

The building of the USS JFK is part of a millennia-long story of the incredible danger that comes with building a ship. Welders have to walk hundreds of feet in the air and hang upside down like Batman to join beams. Painters have to squeeze into compartments smaller than coffins. All of this under impossible deadlines with the specter of COVID hanging overhead.

To talk about the past, present, and future of aircraft carriers is Michael Fabey, author of “Heavy Metal: The Hard Days and Nights of the Shipyard Workers Who Build America’s Supercarriers.” We discuss the importance of this American made industry not only on a local but nationwide level, and why aircraft carriers still matter in the third decade of the 21st century.
August 30, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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