WASHINGTON -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) deployed the first group of SurgeMain Navy Reserve Sailors to the four naval shipyards Monday as part of the largest mobilization in NAVSEA and the SurgeMain program.
The SurgeMain Program – short for Surge Maintenance – is mobilizing 1,629 Reservists and deploying them to the naval shipyards to help reduce the amount of backlogged work due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-March, up to 25 percent of the naval shipyards’ production workforce, considered at high risk of complication from the virus, were placed on weather and safety leave. As a result, the four shipyards lost approximately 50,000 work-days per month which has impacted the schedules of most of the ships undergoing maintenance at 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 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
“First and foremost we had to protect our most at-risk people,” said Vice Adm. Bill Galinis, Commander Naval Sea Systems Command. “Our shipyards have proven that they can keep their people safe, so we’re returning people from weather and safety leave and folding in SurgeMain Reservists to buy back and expand our production capacity.”
SurgeMain Sailors have technical and trade backgrounds that allow them to have an immediate impact at the shipyards.
“This domestic mobilization of a Navy Reserve force for non-humanitarian purposes is unprecedented. Sending our team to the shipyards where a majority of our Sailors have served as qualified hull, mechanical, and electrical skilled tradespeople to augment the naval shipyards’ civilian workforce to assist in reducing the maintenance backlog due to COVID-19 is exactly what our team is designed to do. For the past 15 years, since the SurgeMain program’s debut, our Sailors have been training for this moment…this is what the SurgeMain program is about, and I’m honored to lead this effort for NAVSEA,” said Capt. Rich Sussman, NAVSEA’s Director of Military and Reserve Programs.
The first 119 Reservists reported to their duty stations this week, with 10 checking into Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, 41 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 43 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF), and 25 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.
“We’re bringing our Sailors in over a twelve-week period so we don’t overwhelm the shipyards and also to ensure we’re taking all the right safety precautions tied to COVID-19. All 1,629 Sailors will be on station through September 2021, providing game changing support,” explained Sussman.
“The importance of this mobilization cannot be taken lightly. This opportunity will help further my knowledge and skill to serve SurgeMain, the Navy and allow me to hone my ship-maintenance skills,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician 1st Class Brock Puffett, who is mobilizing to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. “It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment and an opportunity to prove my worth to the shipyard, SurgeMain and the Navy,” he said.
Senior Chief Engineman (SW) Brandon Salsberry, who is also mobilizing to PSNS & IMF, shared that he’s “excited about the positive impact this mobilization will have on the SurgeMain program for years to come… strengthening of relationships between our Sailors and shipyard personnel and the invaluable opportunity of practical in-rate training for our Sailors.”
Mobilized on one-year orders, SurgeMain Sailors will undergo a short training and onboarding period upon their arrival at the shipyards prior to joining their civilian counterparts in their assigned duty locations and shops.