NEWS | July 21, 2021

Norfolk Naval Shipyard: John Horton

By Allison Conti, NNSY Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Sign Shop (Shop 71) Non-Nuclear Painter/Abrasive Blaster John Horton says he comes to work at America’s Shipyard every day with a sense of purpose, pride in his work, and patriotism in his heart. “These have instilled in me a personal investment to serve and accomplish our shipyard’s mission,” said Horton.

Horton first arrived at NNSY in May 2008 after his contract with Newport News Shipbuilding came to an end. Already familiar with NNSY, Horton saw opportunity on the other side of the James River. On account of Horton’s previous training and experience in the United States Air Force, he was viewed as a prime candidate for the Inside Shop Spray Team in NNSY Preservation’s Department (Code 970). “This opportunity allowed me to show my commitment, devotion, attention to detail, skill set, and work ethic. I was extremely proud to become a member of such a great team,” said Horton.

Thirteen years later, Horton supports NNSY as Motor Refurbishment and Rewind Shop (Shop 51) Work Leader. “As a Work Leader, I coordinate with Shop 51 supervision on priority and scheduling of work needed to be performed,” said Horton.

Between his time at NNSY and previous service in the Air Force, Horton is a subject matter expert in masking, blasting, sanding, cleaning, and then spray painting electrical motors from naval vessels. He provides preservation expertise and knowledge to those who work with him and maintains the shop’s daily marine coating usage logs as well as hazardous materials consisting of enamel topcoats and primers, epoxy primers and top coats, and waste. “Even with the best of planning, I constantly keep myself mindful of just what could happen, while aiming to achieve and maintain first-time quality,” he said. “Keeping my spray equipment and spray booth operational at all times eliminates any bottlenecks in production.”

Horton’s Motor Section Supervisor Shane Redfern said, “Mr. Horton always goes above and beyond the call of duty, he always stands ready to do his part on the motor refurbishment process and performs his work with a first-time quality that comes with decades of experience and dedication to his work.”

Horton has faced a lot of adversities in his life; however, he says his challenges only pushed him to move forward and become the best version of himself. He said that he inherited his self-perseverance and work ethic from his father. His father was an employee of the state of North Carolina for 42 years and for 20 of those years he farmed while working full-time. Horton’s father grew peanuts, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and tobacco, and owned livestock. “Because of my upbringing and the valuable life lessons my father taught me, I give my father much of the credit for my ambitions, my commitment to hard work, my ability to take ownership, and for helping me become the person I am today.”