A group of 12 reserve Sailors became plank owners on Aug. 25 for initiating the Surge Main concept at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), where they performed a number of deckplate repair functions - seamlessly and professionally - during their annual active duty training.
“We were able to hit the ground running by drawing on lessons learned from related programs at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (and Intermediate Maintenance Facility), and at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard(and Intermediate Maintenance Facility),” said Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Estrada, NNSY's Surge Main Program Manager.
“Surge Main provides a part-time, fully qualified maintenance workforce that can be assigned whenever and wherever the Navy needs to support Fleet Readiness and the Fleet Response Plan,” Estrada explained.
The Navy Reserve
has traditionally had a limited role in fleet maintenance and readiness, but with a major reduction of the civilian deckplate workforce since the early 1990s, the Navy is tapping into this reservist resource.
“Our mission has been to find the reservists with the right skills, and place them where they can provide maximum support to our naval shipyards,” said Estrada.
NNSY’s Commander, Capt. Richard D. Berkey, said based on shipyard supervisor evaluations of these reservists during their annual training, the supervisors and fellow civilian co-workers praised their work and felt that the reservists had blended in well with the regular work force.
Kenneth Griffin, supervisor in charge of outside machinists, said, “I would put them on any of my jobs and know that I’d be getting a quality job. I’d love to have them back.”
“They performed each task in a professional and timely manner,” noted another Outside Machine Shop supervisor, Steve Gibson.
“They were very well rounded; we need more workers like this…thank you for the outstanding help given,” said Henderson Robinson, a Marine Electrical Shop supervisor.
Marine Electrical Shop Resource Manager, Larry Fields, noted, “Reports from the Supervisors and Zone Managers indicate a successful induction of the program with people reporting on time, while performing their work assignments with minimal supervision and professional results.”
Petty Officers Howell Jordan and Raymond Erich, reservists who participated in NNSY's Surge Main, said they drew on their surface experience while performing repair work on USS Charlotte (SSN 766), and on USS Georgia (SSGN 729), respectively. Jordan worked on hull valves, while Erich repaired various torpedo tube components.
Some members of this plank owner group also used their previous experience in Surge Main, having worked at the Pearl Harbor and Puget Sound naval shipyards, according to Estrada.
“This program is instrumental in developing a team concept where reservists can quickly be deployed in a depot maintenance environment,” said Capt. Mark Powell, NNSY’s Production Resources Officer.
“Fundamentally,” he added, “we are tapping the talents and expertise of reservists to better serve the Navy’s Fleet Response Plan."
“The hard work of NAVSEA headquarters’ Capt. Dave Van Petten and Estrada was instrumental in getting this program up and running expeditiously with good results
. Their year-long efforts paid off,” Powell said.
By Steve Milner, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Office