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Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s COVID-19 Backshift Disinfectant Crew Helps Minimize the Spread

By Hannah Bondoc, Public Affairs Specialist | July 28, 2020

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —

Since March, many employees at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) have stepped up and done what they can to help fight the spread of COVID-19—some have even pulled great feats in the small hours of the night.

NNSY’s Operations Department’s (Code 300) Zone Manager Frank Dearman is one of those individuals. Dearman is the leader of the Backshift Disinfectant Crew, a team of employees who clean and sterilize common spaces, turnstiles, and project areas. Since being assigned by the COVID-19 Management Team (CMT), he and his team have been commended for their efforts.  “As long as we can help prevent another person from catching COVID-19, we will go beyond what we are supposed to do,” Dearman said.

Today, the team has increased to 37 members and is split by specialties of those who can perform preventative treatments and those who can do reactionary treatments. “We currently have 8 out of 37 people on the team who can go into the buildings and disinfect spaces where someone tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dearman.  “The rest of the crew does preventative cleaning of area around the shipyard.”

The team’s work in the battle against COVID-19 may be often unseen, but is very important in helping to minimize the spread, according to shipyard leadership. “They’ve become an arm of the CMT by disinfecting at night to ensure our work areas stay clean and our workforce stays healthy,” Operations Officer (C300) CAPT James “Jip” Mosman said. “I think they are all well deserving of some recognition because a majority of our workforce doesn’t know they exist and what they’re doing for us all.”

From Code 300’s Zone Manager Scott Lynch to Code 980’s Deputy Superintendent Raphael Gagnon, both Dearman and Williams said that they have many supervisors and zone managers from all over the shipyard to thank for helping make this initiative happen. “We truly are an example of what a good team can accomplish,” Dearman said.

Dearman and his team’s efforts are also just one example of NNSY’s C.O.R.E. values shining brightly in the fight against COVID-19.  “Through our efforts, we are demonstrating Respect and Care. Every time we go into an area, we are going into someone’s workplace, their home away from home,” crew member Electrical Shop (Shop 67) Work Manager Zachary Williams said. “Our job is to make sure they are as safe as humanly possible. We don’t skip or cut corners. We demonstrate Excellence by doing a thorough job.”