NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —
From helping fix the boiler on the USS Frank Cable (AS 40) way back in 2007 to keeping USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) on track for its upcoming deployment this past November, the Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) program’s history with Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) is a lengthy one that will continue to prove vital to the Fleet’s success.
Introduced to NNSY in August 2006, the program was designed to help lighten the load where help was needed the most. Its mission is to “utilize reservists with the right skills and place them where they can provide maximum support to our naval shipyards,” whether it be shipfitting, pipefitting, sheet metal work or other jobs on the waterfront.
In turn, the reservists are able to fulfill their annual training requirements within two weeks at NNSY. SurgeMain leaders also have weekly meetings with shop resource managers to plan three weeks ahead as to who is going to need the most help next and whether or not the Sailors are needed elsewhere.
Brand new Sailors who want to become part of the program must go through two years of training at either the SurgeMain schools in Southwest Regional Maintenance Centers in San Diego, CA or the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMAC) in Norfolk, VA to qualify for the program depending on prior experience. By doing this, they have enough general knowledge to move onto the more specific training for any assignment.
In 2007, the program drew on a pool of approximately 600 trade-skilled reservists; according to SurgeMain Program Manager Lt. Cdr. Manny Sayoc and Yeoman First Class (YN1) Teryn McLean, the department now has 1,534 Sailors in constant rotation every week between shipyards—but that’s not the only way it has evolved since then. “We’ve also expanded the support we do in to 15 shops and codes here at NNSY,” Sayoc said, “as well as directly out of military vessels at sea.”
The biggest achievement he and his SurgeMain personnel are most proud of is their recent work on Eisenhower. “With roughly a month’s time and coordinated effort,” Sayoc explained, “26 Sailors from 18 different SurgeMain units across the country served 365 man-days of maintenance support on the ship throughout November.”
Naturally he gave the credit of the program’s success to its people and its leadership. “As a matter of fact, a lot of communities, such as the aviation community, are looking to copy the model that SurgeMain has,” he said. “Our top asset is our leadership who care about the SurgeMain Sailors."
As Sayoc explained, the Navy is leaning more towards making Sailors, both reserve and active, self-sufficient again by training them to be able to perform maintenance while they are still out to sea, as opposed to waiting to come back to one of the shipyards. This movement is already at work with the Navy Afloat Maintenance Training Strategy (NAMTS) program, as Fire Controlman Second Class (FC2) Jadelyn Akamine said. “It’s not a focus,” she said, “but it is something extra that we SurgeMain Sailors can jump on.”
For more than 13 years now at NNSY, the reservists getting training in exchange for lending a helping hand is a mutual relationship that has proved beneficial for all parties involved and will continue to be so. To learn more about SurgeMain, please contact Lt. Cmdr. Manny Sayoc at firstname.lastname@example.org.