SurgeMain (Surge Maintenance) Sailors checking the air for gas in the mock up confined space, another component of their required training to work with the Navy Competent Persons (NCP).


Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) main task is to service the Fleet. This goal requires nothing less than teamwork, a fact understood by Temporary Services’ (Code 990, Shop 99) Navy Competent Persons (NCP)—the core team responsible for confined and enclosed space safety and hot work authorization. Because of heavy workload the group has recently had due to more ships coming in for maintenance, Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) mobilized six of their Sailors to lend a helping hand.

As part of Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) deployment of SurgeMain reservists across the four naval shipyards, these Sailors have the technical and trade backgrounds necessary to provide quick benefits in managing the workload and assisting a variety of projects.

Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental (Code 106), Confined Space Manager and Gas-Free Engineer Robert Tew is the lead for the NCPs. “We have developed a core group of NCPs,” Tew explained. “With NCP duties as their primary focus, the group has been able to improve their skills and expand their professional knowledge under direct supervision.”

“Unfortunately, with the workload being so heavy and the limited number of qualified workers available, we hit a point where we had to think outside the box to ensure we could do our part to assist the various availabilities with nonstop execution of production work,” Code 990 NCP Supervisor Ebony Manier said. Under Tew’s direction and in coordination with Code 990, the group made the effort to start qualifying SurgeMain Sailors as NCPs.

Like their civilian counterparts, the Sailors chosen for NCP qualification had to complete classroom and on-the-job training (OJT). Training included 40 hours of in-class sessions, 120 hours of OJT, and an interview with Tew. “Their interview with me is the last step in the qualification process,” he said. “If they were successful, then I certified them, allowing them to start authorizing confined space entry and hot work on the ships.”

“It was important to maintain the utmost level of quality in the performance of the job,” Code 990’s SurgeMain Shop Leading Chief Petty Officer (LCPO) Kenneth Johnston explained. “Like any safety position, it is imperative for those that you are working with to trust you and for them to be reassured in your training or qualification.”

After a thorough vetting process, six Sailors were certified as NCPs, providing the help that the core group needed; currently, a second class of SurgeMain Sailors is currently undergoing the training to join them. “While they are still gaining experience every day, they have proven to be reliable and eager to learn,” Tew said.

“I don’t know how we would have been able to take care of two carriers and our submarines without the level of teamwork involved in this initiative,” Manier added.

“On behalf of SurgeMain, I would like to thank the NCP core group and supervisors for their commitment to the Sailors and their success,” Johnston added, “Specifically, Code 990’s Trades Manager Donnie Miller for reaching out to the SurgeMain Program with the idea to utilize our Sailors, Code 990’s Waterfront Director Dellon Baker for his continued support, and finally Mr. Tew for his trust and faith in our Sailors to execute a program that he is so passionate about and invested in.”

To be able to support such a workload requires nothing less than teamwork, something that has been embodied by this recent partnership between Code 990 and SurgeMain. As Shipyard Commander Capt. Dianna Wolfson’s command philosophy states, “we are One Team supporting One Mission!”

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