By Danna Eddy, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard PAO
A 2005 Mederia Christian High School graduate, 2018 Evangel University bachelor’s graduate, Assemblies of God Theological University master’s candidate and native of Springfield, Missouri, 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.
Chief Petty Officer Craig Grigson, III 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.
“As a nation we cannot afford to fall behind in ship production and repair regardless of the challenges that COVID presents,” Grigson said. “By responding to the nation’s call, I feel like I am a contributor to the overall national defense strategy.”
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.”
Grigson is a an electronics technician responsible for the organization and well-being of the sailors in his division.
“I enjoy clearing obstacles and providing leadership opportunities for those I am responsible for,” Grigson said. “Their success is my success.”
According to Grigson, the values required to succeed in the Navy are similar to those found in Springfield.
“My dad taught me leadership, patience and the importance of sticking to your core values,” Grigson said. “My mom taught me toughness and resilience. More recently, my wife has taught me to be more flexible and has encouraged me through challenges.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Grigson, 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.
“As a Navy Reservist I am glad to answer the nation when they call, regardless of threat,” Grigson added. As a Chief, I love serving sailors. As a son, husband and father, I am proud of the role I have in the U.S. Navy. Mobilizing in response to COVID gives me great satisfaction, both personally and professionally.”