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12/8/2016

Hirschfeld: A Legacy of Moving America Forward

This year, we make a special effort to honor and remember the lives of our fellow Americans who fought for this country in World War II. Seventy-five years ago, on December 8, 1941, the United States of America entered into the Second World War when, following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Senate unanimously approved the declaration of war on Japan1. This brutal six-year conflict fundamentally altered the political landscape of Europe and Asia with ramifications that stretched to Africa, the Americas and beyond2. In the United States specifically, the war effort required sacrifice and commitment from the whole nation. It was only through the combined efforts of individuals, families, companies, elected officials and military members that the United States and its allies had the will and the means to fight and emerge victorious.

A key element of victory in WWII was having the proper equipment to transport, outfit and protect American and Allied soldiers3. The United States called on its key steel fabricators to produce the necessary steel-based equipment, including military-grade war ships. East Coast steel fabricator Carolina Steel, now a part of Hirschfeld Industries, based in San Angelo, TX, played a major role in fabricating steel for ships and other military equipment to be used in battle. Carolina Steel, founded in 1919, was one of only ten American steel fabricators who answered the call and directed their shops to produce steel for war ships4. For instance, Carolina Steel workers in North Carolina fabricated gun platforms and booby hatches for AE Vesselsand aided in the production of lubricating oil tanks, engine room skylights and seven types of RWT hatch covers for EC-2 Victory Ships6.

Sideways view of the underside of a gun platform fabricated by Carolina Steel, now Hirschfeld industries for warships in WWII.

Four Carolina Steel, now Hirschfeld Industries, workers atop port and starboard fabricated gun platforms. These unusual style of platforms were common for Charleston Navy Yard vessels during WWII.

Vessels outfitted in part by those Americans working for Carolina Steel went on to serve in both the European and Asian arenas7.

USS Craig – Launched July 22, 1943 from Charleston Navy Yard. Carolina Steel, now Hirschfeld Industries, fabricated some of the steel elements of this military ship and others like it. This specific vessel was named in honor of Lt. Cmdr. James Edwin Craig who gave his life for his country during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Records indicate that in the Asian theatre, these ships were deployed to the Philippines and Guam and participated in major battles including the Battle of Guam, a follow up in the Pacific theatre to Operation Overlord, (the Allied landings at Normandy, commonly referred to as D-Day)8.

These Landing Ship Medium (LSM) Vessels outfitted with Carolina Steel fabrication, now Hirschfeld Industries, were deployed in the Asian arena. This picture was taken near Leyte in the Philippines.

Today, Hirschfeld Industries continues to serve America. While shipbuilding is no longer its focus, it remains a part of the legacy. Hirschfeld’s people are impacting bridges, stadia, industrial plants and nuclear projects as well as the complicated transportation of multi-ton fabricated steel from their plants across the country. Peter Jones, who recently joined Hirschfeld Industries as CEO shares, “We are very proud of the work Carolina Steel and now Hirschfeld Industries has done for America. We are humbled to take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our country and people have made, and would like to thank the men and women who serve and have served in our military for their dedication to upholding the principles for which America stands. Similarly, we would like to thank the over 800 men and women who work tirelessly for Hirschfeld to continue to produce high-quality fabricated steel creating a lasting symbol of what Made in America really means.” With its impressive repertoire, built over 97 years of combined history, Hirschfeld is poised to continue to shape the landscape for generations of Americans to come.  

To Dennis Hirschfeld, Vice Chairman of Hirschfeld industries, Hirschfeld is more than just a company: “It’s a family. We have employees who have called Hirschfeld home for 55 years. Isn’t that incredible? We have been able to successfully pursue a range of projects and grow our strengths thanks to longevity and expertise combined with fresh perspective and ingenuity.” Most recently Hirschfeld has been working on projects such as the new Atlanta Braves stadium and replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River north of New York City.  Hirschfeld has completed work in 40 out of 50 states and 11 countries, with the majority of work being completed in the United States, specifically, Texas.  

Today is a day of reflection, of remembrance and of hope. This day changed the course of history and with that brought both challenging times and opportunities. As we keep our soldiers deployed overseas in our hearts today, let us not forget to remember, honor and take pride in our history including those who fought back home to support the incredibly brave men and women of the Allied forces in WWII.



About Hirschfeld Industries LP
Hirschfeld Industries is one of the largest fully integrated fabricators of highly engineered structural steel components in North America. The company serves a wide range of end markets including transportation infrastructure, industrial development, commercial construction and power generation.

With eleven facilities and over 900 employees providing a national presence and industry leading footprint, Hirschfeld Industries is a major participant in the expansion and redevelopment of the U.S. transportation and energy infrastructure systems, both government-funded and private enterprises. Hirschfeld Industries was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in San Angelo, Texas. 

 

1(United States Senate: Official Declarations of War by Congress, n.d.)
2This depends on where one defines the start of the war. It is commonly noted to be September 1939, but some believe it really began in 1937. The U.S. did not join until late in 1941.
3(Staff, 2010)
4Names of the ten steel fabricators noted on the back of an Official U.S. Navy Photograph. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph)
5(Official U.S. Navy Photograph)
6(Official U.S. Navy Photograph)
7(Official U.S. Navy Photograph)
8(Official U.S. Navy Photograph)

 

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