The NAVSEA Enterprise is currently recruiting skilled professionals to maintain forward-deployed Navy ships overseas in Italy, Spain and Bahrain.
Navy recruiting efforts once used the slogan, “Join the Navy and see the world” to encourage enlistment. NAVSEA’s civilian employees now have a similar opportunity to travel and see the world.
The Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, was established June 30, 2014 with the mission to provide sustainment, fleet technical assistance, depot level ship repair and modernization, and voyage repair of naval ships and craft in U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibilities. The command provides diving and salvage coordination for underwater ship husbandry, hull cleaning, emergency ship salvage material, oil spill response and contingency operations.
“We fix ships and take care of our people, all while serving at the tip of the spear,” said Navy Capt. Jerry Zinni, commanding officer of FDRMC.
The command is headquartered in Naples, but it also has two detachments (det.) in Manama, Bahrain and Rota, Spain. Each location provides slightly different services. Naples provides command and control functions coupled with an extensive capability in Distance Support, Fleet Technical Assistance (FTA), and Voyage Repair for ships operating throughout the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf. Det. Rota provides Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) availabilities and Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) oversight to four home-ported AEGIS capable destroyers. Det. Bahrain provides FTA, CNO availability and CMAV oversight to four Mine Counter-Measure ships and 10 Coastal Patrol ships home ported in Bahrain; and voyage repair for ships operating throughout the Arabian Gulf.
Tony Ramos, one of 60 marine surveyors at the command, said, “When you’re part of the FDRMC team, no matter at which location, you feel the pride and honor of directly supporting the ships and sailors who defend our freedom.”
Most of FDRMC’s 177 civilian employees came from other NAVSEA commands, especially the Regional Maintenance Centers and Naval Shipyards. Many decided to go overseas for a change in environment or to expand their skills, according to Richard Abresch, FDRMC corporate operations director.
Miguel Hernandez-Calderon, originally a Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center naval architect now at Det. Rota, said, “I accepted a position overseas because I felt it provided a great opportunity. Since arriving I’ve enhanced my skills and have been promoted to project manager.”
Abresch said with FDRMC growing to 230 civilian positions, the command will continually rely on NAVSEA maintenance professionals for recruiting.
“Most tour lengths are three years at Dets. Rota and Naples, and 18 or 24 months at Det. Bahrain, depending on if you’re being accompanied by a family. No matter the tour length, employees seem to enjoy their time overseas with nearly 70 percent of employees extending,” said Abresch.
Joe Carlini, who has served as a Close in Weapon System (CIWS) technician at Det. Bahrain for nine years, said, “The work is hard, the environment is challenging, but this is still my top location for working.”
After NAVSEA employees complete their tours, they have a guaranteed position waiting for them when they return to their original command in the United States. Having these “Return Rights” provides the employees a level of security as they volunteer to take the difficult jobs overseas, which in turn, expand their skills and life experiences, according to Abresch.
When talking to recruiters, some potential employees voice concerns of taking a job overseas because of family issues, such as spousal employment, attending school, or the familiarity and convenience of the American culture. However, all three locations have a Naval Support Activity, which provides extensive support for Navy families stationed overseas. Most generally include naval hospitals, commissary and exchange privileges, Navy Morale Welfare and Recreation programs, and excellent DOD schools. Additionally, Armed Forces Network television and radio provide English language programing and American news.
“Living overseas is the best of two worlds,” said Leticia Ordonez who works in FDRMC Human Resources. “I get to see and experience cultures my family and friends in the U.S. only see on television, and there is a nearby community which allows me to enjoy the conveniences of America.”
In general, the overseas American communities provide a superb support system to help newly arriving personnel adjust to living in a foreign country form a foundation for experiencing the local culture and to travel.
The top selling point for taking a position overseas is the opportunity to travel, and FDRMC is in the middle of it all. The Spanish Riviera and Ibiza Islands are just up the coast from Rota, while Naples is in the heart of European history from the ruins at Pompeii, the Eternal city of Rome, and the Grand Canals of Venice, Italy. Additionally, much of Europe, including France, Switzerland and Germany is an accessible train ride away from either Rota or Naples.
“The culture, art and history of Europe makes Spain and Italy attractive duty stations, but employees may be surprised by what Bahrain has to offer,” Abresch said. “Most people’s perception of the Middle East has little to do with reality. The excitement of the Gold Souk in Manama, high tech and glamour of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), or resorts of Dubai, UAE, will truly open one’s eyes to another world.”
Joe Murray, the deputy officer in charge of the Bahrain detachment, said, “The generous benefits and entitlements allow the employees to live in a very comfortable oasis in the hot sands of the Middle East … so much that the majority of our employees extend beyond their initial tour.”
According to Abresch, “Each FDRMC location is different, but all offer an overseas experience that broadens an employee’s life and professional experience. They offer opportunity and a means to see the world while still supporting the U.S. Navy.”
If you are interested in learning more about serving overseas at FDRMC in either Naples, Bahrain or Rota contact Leticia.Ordonez@eu.navy.mil; Robin.White@me.navy.mil; or Bernard.Salazar@eu.navy.mil.