ALEXANDRIA, VA – Chief Petty Officer Aziz Matar, resident of Alexandria, Virginia, is serving at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine, as part of the largest mobilization of reservists in Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) history. The mobilization is tied directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matar is one of the reserve sailors deployed to the Navy’s four public shipyards as part of the Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) program. Established in 2005 to augment the Navy’s organic civilian shipyard workforce in times of need, SurgeMain has 2,200 enlisted reserve sailors and 240 reserve officers across 75 units.
“I am very proud to support this Shipyard during these unprecedented times, in order to help reduce the maintenance backlog due to COVID-19,” Matar said. “I am also excited to see SurgeMain take this big step to support.”
Between mid-March and late June 2020, up to 25 percent of the naval shipyards’ production workforce had been on administrative leave due to being at high risk for severe complications tied to the COVID-19 virus. As a result, the four shipyards collectively experienced schedule impacts for most of the ships and submarines undergoing maintenance. This delayed maintenance work could result in delays to ship and submarine maintenance which could cause disruptions to the Navy’s deployment schedules and require ships and sailors to remain forward-deployed for longer periods of time.
NAVSEA, the largest command within the Navy, oversees the construction, delivery and maintenance of all the Navy’s commissioned ships and operates four naval shipyards – Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, WA, and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Honolulu, HI. Workers at each of these shipyards perform a vital role in national defense by performing maintenance on ships, submarines and aircraft carriers required for combat-ready fleet forces.
“The four naval shipyards are critical to providing deployable, combat-ready warships for our Sailors and Marines,” said NAVSEA’s Commander Vice Adm. Bill Galinis. “Augmenting our organic civilian workforce with SurgeMain Reservists allows us to address the maintenance challenges generated by the pandemic so we can return ships back to the Fleet.”
“I am assisting the Shipfitters shop with the erection of scaffolding, in order to safely execute maintenance and repair of various systems on submarines,” Matar said. “The work I do is vital to safely execute work on submarines.”
According to Matar, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Alexandria.
“Resilience and trying to make the most out of every situation help me endure various conditions,” Matar said.
“I am very honored to support the Navy’s mission by delivering and maintaining ships and systems from availabilities and modernizations on time and within cost, while supporting the CNO’s effort to strengthen naval power at and from sea,” Matar added.
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