PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD, Hawaii —
SurgeMain, short for Surge Maintenance, was established by the United States Navy in March of 2005 and is part of the Naval Sea Systems Command Reserve Program. The program has 75 reserve units with over 1,700 enlisted sailors and over 200 reserve officers, mostly from the engineering duty officer community.
They work, filling critical demands, at four naval shipyards in the trades associated with their full-time civilian jobs or their Navy ratings and require minimal training. They seamlessly integrate into the various shops and codes and represent a diverse range of job fields including electricians, electronic technicians, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, plumbers, hydraulic technicians, mechanics, machinists, riggers, carpenters, welders, heating ventilation air-condition technicians and structural repair workers.
Electronics Technician First Class (ET1) Robert Schmitz, a SurgeMain sailor, reported to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Shop 67M to complete his annual training. ET1 Schmitz learned that the Amplifier Test System (ATS) was inoperable, and had been down for several days. With a typical system output of two units a day, there was a backlog of 15 units and 35-40 more scheduled within the coming month. With a Naval Service Warfare Center Crane Technician at least a month out from being able to come to Hawaii to do repairs, ET1 Schmitz immediately recognized the negative impact and requested to troubleshoot the system himself.
Utilizing expertise from his Navy and civilian career, ET1 Schmitz identified a faulty relay in the ATS unit. He repaired, calibrated and tested the unit, placing it back in service within a day. Once repaired, he started reducing the shop’s backlog. Due to actions taken by ET1 Schmitz, Shop 67M was able to clear its backlog and repair incoming units leading to a cost savings of $1.8M ($37K per unit). In addition to the repair of the ATS units, he provided expert-level training to Shop 67M, teaching them troubleshooting techniques. The work SurgeMain sailors like ET1 Schmitz reinforces the motto of keeping the fleet “fit to fight.” His presence in the shop will therefore have a lasting impact.
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