Navy mobilizing reservists to help with maintenance backlog created by COVID-19 pandemic

Includes Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth
Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Posted at 10:08 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 10:08:10-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Navy is calling up reservists in order to tackle a maintenance backlog for submarines and aircraft carriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1,600 reservists from the Navy's Surge Maintenance program, also known as SurgeMain, will report to the four public shipyards starting in July.

486 of the reservists will be working at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.

The maintenance backlog stems from the COVID-19 pandemic when shipyard workers who were considered "high risk" by the CDC were authorized leave.

Naval Sea Systems Command says that resulted in about 25 percent of the production workforce unable to report to the shipyards.

The mobilization is the largest since SurgeMain was established in 2005, with two-thirds of the Reserve Sailors and officers being called upon to augment the civilian workforce.

"Many of our people have prior experience at the shipyard where they're being sent, down to the specific shop where they will be working alongside the shipyard's organic civilian workforce," said Captain Michael MacLellan, SurgeMain's director, in a statement.

All the reservists are expected to be on site by September, working under one-year mobilization orders that could be extended or shortened depending on the circumstances.