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NEWS | Nov. 24, 2020

Shipyard Spotlight: Jon Larrew

By Troy D. Miller, Public Affairs Specialist

Some Navy veterans who work at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) can appreciate the work the shipyard does, because they experienced firsthand as a person in uniform how vital the facility is to maintaining ships’ readiness. For one Army veteran at NNSY however, it was not a ship where he experienced the fruit of the shipyard’s labor.

                 “Over a 15-month deployment in Kuwait, those of us in the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment rode many different vehicles that had been modified by the shipyard and we were very grateful for the protection they provided,” said Safety Department (Code 106) Moored Training Ships Projects Safety Manager Jonathan Larrew.

                In 2006, NNSY sent a team to Kuwait to install Low Signature Armor Cab (LSAC) kits on Army vehicles to give American troops in Iraq extra layers of protection against roadside bombs and other hostile action.

                “We drove seven miles to safety with a damaged tire and rim that was damaged either by a gun shot or something we ran over that was designed to destroy the tire,” said Larrew.

                When Larrew retired from the U.S. Army in 2015, he applied to NNSY’s apprentice program for a position in the safety department. When he was offered the position, it was a “no brainer” for him. As a paratrooper, master diver and one who handled explosives, safety was of utmost importance. This was a way for him to keep shipyard employees from getting hurt or worse, just like the shipyard did for him with the LSACs.

                “I approach people and let them know what they are doing right and commend them on fixing safety issues that has been discussed earlier,” said Larrew. “Then I have a discussion with them on what they need to fix. I tend to get a better response if I went up to them and say ‘Hey, don’t do that,’ or ‘Hey, that’s a fall issue.’”

                Safety started at a young age for Larrew. Born and raised in Wiley, Col., his hobbies were hunting, bull riding, farming and ranching. When he was older, he was framing houses and decided he needed a different challenge. Not long after Operation Desert Storm, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

                “My first four years I was a combat engineer for the 82nd Airborne, where I jumped out of airplanes and handled explosives,” said Larrew. “The rest of my 20-year career, I was a diver and by the time I retired, I earned the title Master Diver.”

                To help remind what NNSY has done for him and to show shipyard employees how important their jobs are, he pulls out a photo of him and a fellow soldier by the vehicle with the damaged tire and rim.

                “NNSY was there for my team and I back in 2006. Working here is my way of giving back and saying ‘thank you,’” said Larrew.


10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jon Larrew

1.  His favorite food is hatch green chili.

2. His favorite movie is Captain Ron.

3. His dream vacation is sailing to Tahiti on a sailboat.

4. Larrew’s wife and daughter both work at NNSY.

5. Green is his favorite color.

6. Seeing his children graduate was his proudest moment.

7. His favorite saying is “it is what it is.”

8. Chris Green, another army Master Diver, was his mentor and was also his best man.

9. He likes to sail, build and fix things and play on a Ham Radio. 

10. The one thing that no one knows about him is that he doesn’t like cake.