The phrase "Salute to Freedom" in elegant script next to a portrait of Christopher Kastner.

Honoring HII’s Legacy at the 2024 Salute to Freedom Gala

May 22, 2024 - 8:00am

This year, on May 23, 2024, the Salute to Freedom gala will honor HII Corporation, represented by its President and CEO Christopher D. Kastner, alongside all its shipbuilders and employees, with the 2024 Intrepid Salute Award. This prestigious accolade not only recognizes their exceptional contributions but also celebrates their profound connection to the storied history of the USS Intrepid.

Steeped in the histories of American shipbuilding lore, Newport News Shipbuilding, now a part of HII Corporation, played a crucial part in Intrepid’s service during World War II. From 1941 to 1945, this iconic shipyard became a hive of activity, birthing 49 vessels for the U.S. Navy, including the legendary USS Intrepid in 1943, helping to turn the tide of the war in both Europe and the Pacific.

Within the shipyard's bustling environment, a vibrant community flourished, chronicled in the pages of the ‘Shipyard Bulletin.’ This newsletter served as a window into the lives of the shipbuilders, featuring articles on long-serving employees, the pioneering efforts of women in new roles, and profiles of different shops. Featured in the August 1945 issue, the Intrepid was hailed for "setting a record for sturdiness and endurance," a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of those who built the carrier her. The Chief of the Bureau of Ships lauded Intrepid's remarkable staying qualities and combat prowess, proclaiming it a source of pride for all Newport News Shipbuilding personnel who contributed to its construction.

Fast forward to the present day, HII Corporation stands as the nation's only designer and builder of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, a primary builder of nuclear-powered submarines, the largest supplier of U.S. Navy surface combatants, and a leading producer of uncrewed undersea vehicles (UUV). The work of HII’s 44,000 employees is vital in equipping the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard with the technologies needed for future conflicts and maintaining America's maritime dominance.

This commitment to excellence will be showcased at this year's Fleet Week, where two vessels constructed by HII shipbuilders will take center stage: the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Bataan – which will be docked at Pier 88 and open for public tours, and the U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Calhoun (WMSL-759). These vessels underscore HII's ongoing contributions to the nation's maritime strength and serve as a testament to its workforce’s unwavering dedication and expertise.

Learn more about the 2024 Salute to Freedom gala here.

Collection of the Intrepid Museum. A00.2012.133

A man and woman read an exhibit panel on Intrepid's flight deck while their child points at the propeller of an aircraft.

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