I am 62 years old (as of 1998) and a retired Naval Architect Technician from the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. I am a "bootstrap" engineering type as my family could not afford to send me to college. I started off at LBNS as an apprentice shipfitter in 1954 and spent ten years getting the feel of the steel in my blood.
During this time I was also a member of the California National Guard for 5 1/2 years as a vehicle mechanic, truck driver, track and turret mechanic (M-41and M-48 tanks), tank driver, tank gunner, driving instructor and assistant armorer.
In 1964 I transferred to the design division
as a draftsman in the fittings section designing rigging, mooring systems,
anchoring systems, towing arrangements, masts, replenishment-at-sea structures
In 1968 I was the project leader to finish design and inspection of fittings and antennas on the USS New Jersey prior to her Viet Nam deployment. I also designed the undersea rigging systems for SEALAB II, DSRV test equipment and the replenishment systems for the Bathyscaph TRIESTE.
In 1976 I transferred to the structural section and designed hull structures and superstructure modifications including deckhouses and armor. I designed the armor for the ammo magazines on the LHA-1 class ships and the superstructure armor for the Spruance class destroyers.
In 1981 I was assigned as the structural project leader for the reactivation and modernization of the USS New Jersey for her fourth time in active service. I designed, or directed the design, all superstructure mods, Tomahawk decks,additional armor for new critical spaces and was the point of contact from the other design sections for arrangements, mast design, foundation designs, etc.
In 1983 I was promoted to be the Hull and Structural Configuration Manager for the reactivation of the USS Missouri and to conduct inspections of the USS Iowa and USS Wisconsin.
After the Configuration Manager section was disestablished in 1986 I returned to the structural design section and continued to work on the Battleships which included writing new cathodic protection shipalts and a two volume feasibility study of how to protect a BB and her crew from a CBR attack. I also directed the development of inactivation drawings when the ships were ordered into reserve status.
I retired from LBNS in 1994 after 39 1/2 years with credit for a new engineering formula, a Navy patent, two beneficial suggestions, one outstanding achievement award and four superior achievement awards.
Since retirement I have created my personal business DREADNAUGHT CONSULTING dedicated to saving the Battleships from the scrap heap. I have assisted museum/memorial associations in readying the ships to be set up as proper memorials but still maintaining a condition that would allow them to be recalled to duty.
I also take time out to find young Battleship enthusiasts,such as those on this board, that are willing to listen to my experiences so I may pass the torch on.
On the personal side, I collect HO model trains of the Milwaukee Road and do some cabinet making for a friend of mine. Except at Christmas time where I play Santa Claus for various charities or friends.
Richard A. Landgraff
Long Beach, California