Sailors at Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) play a key role in maintaining and modernizing the Navy’s Surface Fleet so Combatant Commanders know they have combat-ready naval forces that are ready to deploy anywhere at any time.

To that end, the Navy’s “Team Ships” Command Master Chief, Tony Perryman, Sr., spent time with Sailors here recently to help them understand how SERMC fits into the Team Ships responsibility to sustain Fleet capabilities and readiness through improved maintenance and modernization.

Perryman said the Navy’s operational and maintenance communities had to find a way to get Sailors more proficient at fixing downed systems and repairing their gear while underway.

“The operational Fleet demands our ships be maintained and repaired by Sailors at sea, especially during sustained combat operations, and we are focused on training our Sailors,” Perryman said, adding that his office was making sure surface ships have the equipment, spare parts, technical documentation and more to help crews at sea. “In battle with denied communications,” he noted, “you are not going to have the ability to phone home.”

For Sailors, duty at SERMC provides a unique opportunity for “fast tracking” professional growth. “A gas turbine mechanic on sea duty rarely gets into the internals of the engine. Sailors stationed at SERMC could spend their entire tour taking engines apart and rebuilding them, while earning NAMTS (Navy Afloat Maintenance Training Strategy) Navy Enlisted Codes (NECs). A NAMTS NEC certifies they are more proficient than their peers without NAMTS training, and it’s proven they perform better than the average on advancement exams,” said Osbert “Teek” Teekasingh, SERMC’s NAMTS Coordinator.

Most of the junior Sailors, even those with sea duty, report to SERMC as an apprentice, but when they leave they have learned enough to perform at the journeyman level. Journeyman technicians at sea can work independently, call for tech assists and complete repairs themselves. High-performing Sailors can earn 2 or 3 NEC’s while at SERMC.

“We’re talking about putting the tools and materials in front of Sailors and properly training them. The Navy needs trained Sailors who can maintain their ship and continue to fight,” Perryman said.

From regularly scheduled maintenance needed for every surface ship to essential modernization upgrades that will keep our Fleet ahead of global threats, SERMC and Team Ships enable our nation and allies to meet the mission.