WASHINGTON -- Beginning on April 1, 850 Navy Reserve Sailors mobilized by the Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) program and deployed to the four naval shipyards will begin demobilization. The SurgeMain Sailors provide the shipyards with additional capacity to conduct ship maintenance and modernization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the course of the seven-month mobilization, SurgeMain Sailors worked to arrest and reduce the backlog of work that built up due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In large part due to the SurgeMain Sailors’ efforts, on-going submarine and aircraft carrier availabilities were able to remain on schedule. In addition to their direct work on availabilities, SurgeMain Sailors also provided valuable technical overhead support, using skills from their civilian experience to perform critical machinery maintenance, return needed equipment to service and fill key supervisory roles within the shipyard.
The Navy activated SurgeMain in July 2020, to mitigate the impacts associated with 25 percent of the naval shipyards’ production workforce, considered at high risk for severe complication from the COVID-19 virus, being on weather and safety leave at the outset of pandemic. As a result, the four shipyards were losing approximately 66,000 workdays per month across the four naval shipyards, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) in Kittery, Maine; Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Virginia; Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) in Bremerton, Washington; and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The four public shipyards implemented a number of aggressive health and safety measures to nearly eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in the shipyard environment, which enabled the full return of the production workforce to the job site, bringing productivity back to near pre-pandemic levels and reducing the need for urgent support.
“The Navy activated SurgeMain during a critical time of need. These Sailors rose to the challenge to help the shipyards deliver combat-ready ships back to the Fleet,” said Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command Vice Adm. Bill Galinis “Now that our shipyard production workforce has almost entirely returned and we’re just about at pre-pandemic levels, the Navy is making the prudent decision to demobilize SurgeMain, allowing Sailors to return home to their families following a job well done.”
Established in 2005, SurgeMain has 2,200 enlisted reserve Sailors and 240 reserve officers across 75 units and was created to augment the Navy’s organic civilian shipyard workforce in times of need. SurgeMain Sailors have technical and trade backgrounds that allow them to have an immediate impact at the shipyards.
“This mobilization was the largest Reserve deployment in NAVSEA history and demonstrated SurgeMain’s ability to rapidly deploy in a crisis and provide immediate support,” said SurgeMain’s Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Sussman. “This deployment strengthened the relationship between the four shipyards and SurgeMain, which will benefit both organizations the next time urgent maintenance needs arise.”
To complete the demobilization process, SurgeMain Sailors will return to their assigned Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSC) to finish their administrative requirements. The Navy Reserve uses Distributed Mobilization process that uses its NOSCs to mobilize and demobilize a large of number of Reservists quickly to meet operational requirements more effectively. The entire process normally takes one to two months in order to ensure all administrative requirements are met and Reserve Sailors receive all their entitled benefits.
“Since its inception in 1915, the Navy Reserve has responded in every global conflict, including the fight against COVID-19,” said Vice Adm. John Mustin, Chief of Navy Reserve and commander, Navy Reserve Force. “SurgeMain Sailors are an example of what the Navy Reserve can do for our Navy in a timely and expeditious manner. I’m extremely proud of them for their great work.”