A component of 21 naval reservists temporarily assigned to Submarine Group 10 completed their assistance in the maintenance of USS Florida (SSGN 728) Aug. 12 while the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine is in dry dock.
Trident Refit Facility (TRF) requested the reserve component to help in submarine maintenance and preservation.
“This is the largest effort of the Navy Reserve in many years directly supporting TRF and it has exceeded all of our expectations,” said Capt. John McClure, commanding officer, Naval Reserve Expeditionary Maintenance Detachment K. “The opportunity to support TRF and USS Florida is a significant win both for the individual Navy Reserve Sailors and for TRF and Florida.”
Lt. Waldemar Rosario, officer-in-charge of the reserve component and event lead for the project, said there was some apprehension at first, but his Sailors quickly dispelled any uneasiness.
“Anytime you’re doing something for the first time, there are always questions no one has answers to,” Rosario said. “As soon as they received the training, were shown exactly how to do the job and told what was expected, my guys performed flawlessly. TRF came in to do the inspections and the work had been done as well as their own demanding expectations dictate.”
The group was made up of several boatswain’s mates and engineers from as far north as Knoxville, Tenn., to the reserve center in Miami, and many of them have years of experience in the surface fleet doing similar jobs. Some of the other specialties included a master-at-arms, an information systems technician and an aviation electronics technician.
“It was my first time working on a sub,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Alistair Balfour, whose previous experience with subs was limited to seeing the one moored next to his ship during his active-duty service. “When the opportunity opened up, I just said, ‘Let’s go.'”
Though the Seminole State University student picked up his bags and took temporary orders to Kings Bay, one of the Sailors barely drove further than she normally would.
“My husband is stationed on base here,” said Engineman 3rd Class Tassia Fisher, a reservist living in Saint Marys, Ga., and assigned to a Seabee detachment in Virginia. “It’s pretty cool. We really got to do what needed to be done. Most of the drills we do don’t directly have as much effect on a mission as this does.”
Though grinding, scraping and painting the ballast tanks may seem meager in comparison to some of the other jobs being performed on the sub, the importance of Florida’s mission magnified the assignment.
“Some of the Sailors have come up to me and said that they were truly proud of the work they did,” Rosario said. “This submarine is a major part of the nation’s security plan and for their work to have such significance to protecting our nation really stands out in their minds.
Source: navy, August 17, 2011;