SAN DIEGO--Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Southwest Regional Maintenance and Repair Center hosted a surface ship self-sufficiency and sustainment open house at Naval Base San Diego Oct. 23.
The open house connected ship’s force maintainers and leaders with services and programs to educate and empower maintenance teams to improve their shipboard self-sufficiency, maintenance ownership, and repair capability.
“We’re trying to promote self-sufficiency, so getting these resources to the ships -- the training and equipment -- pushes the ships to take care of their own equipment,” said Benjamin Alcantara, the 3M program manager for Pacific Fleet surface forces. “If they have the specialty and that skillset, they can take care of their equipment when they are underway and deployed. If something goes down, they can bring it back.”
Representatives from a dozen organizations, including the Surface Force Maintenance University, SKED Fleet Support, and Naval Sea Systems Command, provided information on the current state, and future, of Navy material readiness.
“These people and programs are in place to give that capability and training to the ships,” said Master Chief Interior Communications Electrician Robert Townley, the 3M system coordinator for Pacific Fleet surface forces. “In a contested environment, if we are taking battle damage, can we fix it and get it back in the fight or do we have to pull in to port? Ships have to have confidence that they can fix their own equipment. We need to have confidence that if a weapon system needs repair, the Sailors are confident, capable and empowered.”
Hundreds of Sailors from throughout Navy Region Southwest visited the open house to learn more about how to improve the effectiveness of ship’s force maintainers.
“I’m a fix it myself kind of person,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Michael Bouton, a micro miniature repair technician from USS Lake Champlain (CG 57). “I liked that they are putting forward a program to get more people trained to work on fiber optics. A lot of people use it and ship’s force doesn’t really have the capability to fix it. We have to wait to have someone take it and repair it for us. Training ship’s forces to perform more of the work themselves, it increases the capability of the ship.”
This kind of “fix it myself” attitude is exactly what Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Southwest Regional Maintenance and Repair Center are hoping to instill in its crews, and open houses like this one may be a big step toward building crews that are better trained and equipped to self-sustain at sea.