01 July 2011


Cutting the ribbon to make it official
On Tuesday I attended a ceremony for the re-establishment of the Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) at Naval Station Mayport. This event is a big deal for our Navy because it effectively strengthens our capability (in the Fleet) to better train our surface ship crews to conduct shipboard maintenance and repairs.
Equipment in inactive lay-up
In the past, IMAs (previously known as SIMAs) were an important part of a Sailor’s career pipeline because they served as an opportunity for hands-on training and mentoring from senior Sailors and Civilians. Due to funding and manpower cuts, however, IMAs were eventually drawn down and the work farmed out to industry breaking that virtuous cycle where our Sailors increased their skills at the IMA and rolled to their next ship with more experience. 
Equipment in inactive lay-up
When VADM McCoy and I visited the Mayport RMC last year (separately), we were both struck to see much of the machinery covered in plastic wrap and placed in inactive lay-up. During his visit, VADM McCoy vowed to work with the Fleet to tear off that plastic and restore the IMA capabilities to our Navy. Making the case for the funding and manpower in such a fiscally constrained environment has been no easy task, but our Fleet leadership worked together with CNP to make it happen.  As a result, we now have a plan to restore funding and manpower to the IMA in Mayport through FY2012 and we’re working to do the same at the RMCs in other regions. You can read more of the details in VADM McCoy’s remarks from the ceremony (see link below).
A big day for the Mayport RMC
I’m very pleased with the support the Fleet has received from VADM McCoy and his team at NAVSEA and I’m also very grateful for the support from our leadership; CNO has given us his full backing from the very beginning. I promised our Sailors I would give them the tools, training and time they need to deploy confident in their abilities to carry out their missions. I intend to stay focused on this commitment for the duration of my time in command…and I believe the stand-up of the IMAs is a very big step towards delivering on that promise. 

You can find VADM McCoy’s speech from the ceremony here. I highly encourage you to read through his remarks – ten minutes very well spent.
All the best, JCHjr


Anonymous said...

Admiral, Very inspired! Tonight I will hoist a mug of the finest Bavarian beverage for you and VADM McCoy for delivering the key ingredient to ships service lives and sustained material readiness! This post us why I follow your blog. You don't just give happy talk, you deliver!!! Remanning the SIMAs and removing that Saran wrap will earn accolades across the Fleet for sure. Sailors who love their craft now have a continuum of learning. When they make Chief, they will have made it with full confidence in their ability to fix their gear! I am convinced we have Sailors out ther that would love to stay practicing their craft at sea. What we need now is some incentive to stay salty!! We pay recruiters a hefty bonus to recruit in an environment where next years goal is nearly met the year prior. We need to develop incentives to keep these Sailors who want to stay at sea---at sea. They are the ones that will get our ships to their service life! BZ for reopening the SIMA. Staying tuned to your next accomplishment in Fleet Command. Hoping it stays consistent with focusing on the tooth and not the overwhelming tail. In today's Navy, we need more maintainers and less keyboard operators!! V/R Jonah

NVYGUNZ said...

I agree, great move forward. Early in my career I spent many hours in SIMA MYPT getting my gear weight tested, calibrated, honed, fixed, etc... I often admired how well trained and knowledgable those SIMA Sailor were. Glad to have that IMA back in action. It will pay dividends down the road for both our ships and our Sailors.


ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr said...

Jonah/NVYGUNZ, now it's time for the next step -CREWS TAKING OWNERSHIP.
We're bringing back the tools so that a CO, a Wardroom, a CPO Mess and our LPOs have what it takes to maintain their ship and keep it fit to fight.
I don't pretend for a minute that we've fixed all the problems we have in our surface fleet, but I do believe we've taken the initial steps necessary to restore our readiness.
The biggest step yet to be taken, however, is the step of TAKING OWNERSHIP - firmly re-establishing the culture that we once had where our Sailors believed, truly believed, that no one, repeat no one, on the planet knew their gear and how to operate and maintain it better than they did.
When a piece of gear went down, our Sailors knew what to do, and they were led by CPOs who were technical experts as well as deckplate leaders.
That means we've got to get back into the tech manuals, we've got to know the ins and outs of the 3M system, we've got to be "hands-on" experts for all our systems, whether it's the steering gear for the LSD-41 or Aegis B/L 7.1.3.
This effort cuts across every command and every staff - WE HAVE TO OWN OUR GEAR; WE HAVE TO OWN OUR SHIPS. It's up to us. All the best, JCHjr

Anonymous said...

I've got to give you credit, ADM. For the first time in quite a few years, I saw sailors with needle guns down in the tight ugly nasty bilges. Imagine their surprise when they saw just how badly deteriorated their bilges were from simple neglect. Us contractors, the nasty, foul, get your ship dirty yardbirds have been trying to keep them up for years now but we can only do what we're contracted to do...we have business models too!

Nice to see sailors quit focusing on the parts the admiral or commodore will see and start worrying about the part that lets water into the people space. Well, done, sir!


NVYGUNZ said...


Very well said Sir! As a recovering 3MC, I echo those comments as frequently as possible. I even had the pleasure of stating such to the last two graduating 3MC classes in the Norfolk area. I got on my soap box and told them all how hard and important their jobs were as new 3MCs. But more importantly, how important it was to shape the maintenance culture at their command. To set a maintenance precedent and uphold accountability all the way up/down the chain of command. The buck stops with them!
Further, I explained to them how upholding that culture will not only make sure the equipment is up and ready, it will ultimately make the command cleaner and improve readiness, therefore, increasing pride and standards at all levels.
Lastly, I told them their 3M litmus test should be routine spot checks on D-1 maintenance cards. Those, plus some W-1 checks are routinely taken for granted and not fully accomplished. They fall victim to divisional 'tribal law' of execution. Especially the cleaning and upkeep portion. If all D-1/W-1s across the command are done thoroughly, the command WILL be clean. Therefore, things like extensive 'field day' should rarely be needed. If they (3MCs) can tackle that small challenge, life and the culture will only get better.


Anonymous said...

Step one complete, wrapping paper off and sailors ordered in. One has to ask the basic question of training. Are the 'A' & 'C'schools back teaching troubleshooting and repair of their respect systems? Is Department Head school long enough to get close to the training you & I got at 'destroyer school'...lots of detailed training, packing valves and trying to weld a small bead on metal, to appreciate how hard those simple functions can be? Are we teaching the leaders enough to be credible on the deckplates before they arrive? Are we actually investing time in the art of going to sea to be sailors, or is it still just a check in the box before they hurry off to do important stuff on joint staffs or DC duty? The culture of being on ships as the number one priority needs to be re-instated or opening up IMAs won't be impressive if they have to do it all.
I think it's great Mayport is being revitalized so it can be ready in two years to help with it's fleet of just 8 ships in the basin, all the maintenance intensive FFGs will be gone by 2013 and the CVN won't arrive until 2018/2019, so they should be able to handle the load in port...at least until someone realizes no new ships are earmarked to gone into one of the best ports on the east coast.
Retired 0-6

Anonymous said...



The above posting of URLs may come as a surprise as a post on your blog, but they are a part of our Naval Heritage.

Why? Because some ships of the fleet are named after these places of beauty and rich history of America.

You said the next step is to get ship crews to take ownership of the vessels. While "ownership" may mean a great many things to the Navy, from a maintenance point of view to a leadership point of view, I believe there is a view that should be as important as the above if not more important and that has really not been talked about all too often. The view is this:

A question I would ask to myself if I were asked and directed to take ownership is, "what is this ship I am asking to take ownership of? What is the USS Tortuga? Tortuga? What does that mean? Who was Tortuga?"

While a trip to the Dry Tortugas in Florida or Chancellorsville may not be in the cards every single time, why can it not ever be in the cards for the crew to understand what they are taking ownership of? If that is the case, for say a battlefield, bring the NPS to the crew! Have a maintenance standdown and include the NPS is the crew training. They are federal employees and I'm sure the ship OPTAR could fund 1 or 2 NPS employees (who are federal employees) a year to give them a periods if instruction about why their ship is named the USS Tortuga or the USS Chancellorsville.

In the case of ships named after people, have the NWC send someone, or ask a retiree to get engaged to describe the history to the members and make it an all hands call. Also family and ship sponsors of people who are the descendents may be interested in coming aboard to talk about the rich hisorty of the person. Local colleges may also be of asistance.

Taking ownership goes beyond a wikipedia page or a webpage about why each ship is named after a place or person. Get the sailors involved so that they know what they are working on and or using to fight the enemy or bring humanitarian supplies abroad. Have them take ownership in the ship...but more importantly, what the ship stands for!

While it may take some work in getting the NPS on board and aboard it can be a great partnership that may even inspire sailors to seek new employment as park rangers. The sky is the limit.


an FFC staff member

Warrant Diver said...

Admiral, wonderful to see the IMAs coming back. We need them terribly. When they were being shuttered, the overwhelming chorus from the Fleet was "Don't do it!" Experienced Chiefs and officers alike loudly voiced their concern but were told that they "didn't get it. This time is different. We have a new model. Your old way is dead."

Well, it wasn't. We knew it, and said so. And now I feel vindicated, but how much damage has been done (in terms of material and personnel) that can't be undone?

Why must the Navy continue to learn the lessons of the past and buy into shiny new plans, believing that "this time is different", when we have the experience in our own ranks who know otherwise?