PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD, Maine - A 2001 Owasso High School graduate and native of Owasso, Oklahoma, 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.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Audie Martin 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.

“Serving during this global pandemic is an honor and a privilege,” Martin said. “While so many Americans are out of work, it humbles me to be a part of something greater than myself. Watching our sailors roll their sleeves up out on the deck-plates, working to keep our ships in the fight is awe inspiring.”

Between mid-March and late June, 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.”

Martin is responsible for sailors' training and professional development.

“I enjoy it when a sailor is able to apply their knowledge and expertise to a job-at-hand," Martin said.

According to Martin the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Owasso.

“Growing up in Owasso taught me that in life, a hard day's work will always pay off," Martin said.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Martin, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“I am blessed to live in a country where we have opportunities only limited by our own dreams," Martin added. “Working at the shipyard during these trying times brings blurred goals into focus. We are at war with a silent enemy and will only prevail by working together.”

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