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Press Release

Release Date: January 16, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Jared Manning, a 20-year-old welding student at the Pontotoc Technology Center, welds a V-groove into a pipe using a tungsten inert gas arc welding process. It is his preferred welding method and helped him construct 10 clearing tubes for the Chickasaw Nation.

  • Instructor Larry Bodine, student Jared Manning and his father Mike Manning display the collection of clearing tubes Jared produced during a project at the Pontotoc Technology Center.

ADA, Okla. – Fusing metals together with extreme heat is a key process to building and rebuilding our world. From handrails to Hyundais, the handiwork of a welder can be seen all around us.

Thanks to a unique opportunity provided by a partnership between the Chickasaw Nation and the Pontotoc Technology Center in Ada, the handiwork of a young Chickasaw student can be found at two Chickasaw Nation facilities, with more locations to benefit from his work soon.

After graduating from Latta High School, Jared Manning, of Ada, decided to pursue a practical and technical trade skill, which is pivotal to the very infrastructure of our daily lives.

He was one of the first students enrolled in the Pontotoc Technology Center’s new welding program in the fall of 2017.

His father, Mike Manning, serves as director of training and protective services for the Chickasaw Nation. During a meeting in 2018, he learned of the tribe’s need to procure new firearms clearing tubes for tribal facilities.

“We’ve got 21 gaming facilities and three training centers, each with a clearing tube. Each officer coming off duty uses a clearing tube as a safety protocol,” Mike Manning said.

Clearing tubes give officers a safe place to aim their weapon during the process of loading and unloading, which is the time an accidental discharge may be most likely. In this way, these heavy duty objects help keep the public safe.

It occurred to Manning there was a class of fledgling welders itching for a hands-on project at the technology center, his son Jared among them.

Mike contacted the Pontotoc Technology Center and linked up with welding instructor Larry Bodine who has been passing on trade skill knowledge for nearly 30 years, since the technology center was built. The two opened the door to a mutually-beneficial partnership.

“That was the big thing for me,” Bodine said. “I’ve now got a partner. We’ve got a lot of Chickasaws coming through this class, and they’re good welders, too. And the Chickasaws have been a big supporter when it comes to education. I’m excited about any project.”

The Chickasaw Nation purchases the raw material from Sherrell Steel and donates it to the welding class. Students then have the opportunity to put their skills to the test.

About a year into Jared Manning’s welding lessons, he was assigned to work on the clearing tubes.

He drafted a blueprint by reverse-engineering one of the clearing tubes on the market and actually found a few ways to improve it – by reducing unnecessary weight and adding handles.

These devices come up to around an adult’s waist and are coated with black rubber and paint. If you dismantled a clearing tube, you’d find a four-inch, round, metal pipe inside a six-inch square metal tube, which rises from the base at about a 45-degree angle. Inside the round pipe is 25 pounds of sand, and it’s plugged with the same foam used for insulation.

Manning measured, cut, sheared, coated and painted the clearing tubes. Four hours of welding went into each of the 10 final products.

“It was a fun process and a lot of experience,” he said.