I was recently invited to participate in the Distinguished Visitor (DV) program put on by the United States Navy. As explained on the U.S. Naval Air Forces website “Naval Air Forces’ Distinguished Visitor Embark Program places key leaders from all sectors of society – corporate, civic government, education, non-‐profit and service – aboard a deployed carrier. While aboard, embarkees meet the talented young men and women who bring these ships to life, and they experience first-‐hand how the Navy is contributing to the security of the United States, and to the stability of the global community.”
“Through the DV program, guests are allowed to spend one or two days meeting with the ship’s leaders, interacting with numerous Sailors and Marines and touring the ship all the while observing a wide variety of daily operations.” I was fortunate enough to stay overnight on the USS John C. Stennis and meet Admiral Ron Boxall of the 3rd fleet. During our meeting, we discussed 3D printing, additive manufacturing and where our Navy is at with taking advantage of these awesome technologies. Imagine our Navy being able to create replacement parts at sea, thousands of miles away from home, in order to keep our aircraft flying and our vessels sailing!
In an article written by Yasmin Tadjdeh, “When advanced manufacturing and 3D printing become widely available, we envision a global network of advanced fabrication shops supported by sailors with the skill sets and training to identify problems and build and make products,” said Vice Adm. Phil Cullom, deputy chief of naval operations for fleet readiness and logistics.
With the introduction of 3D Printing in the 1980’s, and the recent accelerated advancement in printing technology, it was only a matter of time before we made printers that were capable of being used for more than just prototyping products. I can’t wait to see how far the United States Navy will take this amazing technology once the printers are made available on all Aircraft ships.
Thanks again to the USS John C. Stennis crew and Admiral Ron Boxall of the 3rd fleet for having me aboard.