Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Hollner is a 2009 graduate of Colonie High School, a 2017 graduate of Hudson Valley Community College and graduate of Paul Smith’s College. He is currently serving at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine as part of the largest mobilization of reservists in Naval Sea Systems Command history, which is directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a reserve sailor deployed to one of four public shipyards as part of the Surge Maintenance 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 officers across 75 units.
Q: What is SurgeMain and what is it you do?
A: SurgeMain is short for ‘Surge Maintenance.’ It is a program in the Navy Reserves and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) started in 2005 that delivers ship maintenance manning usually to shipyards or ships with the right skill at the right place and at the right time. A big part of the program consists of Sailors who were prior active duty, like me. Currently, I am providing my skills, motivation, positive mindset and expertise to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, to reduce the maintenance backlog from workforce restrictions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Why did you pick the Navy over other branches of the Armed Services?
A: I picked the Navy because I personally saw more opportunities to be a mechanic. It was something that always seemed fascinating to me, and I seized the opportunity to have it pay for the bachelor’s degree I eventually got. I also realized the shipboard lifestyle seemed extremely traditional and tight knit. The ‘Join the Navy, See the World,’ motto helped with my decision making as well.
Q: How are you specifically contributing to the critical work being conducted at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the safe overhaul, repair and modernization of nuclear-powered attack submarines?
A: I specifically contributed to the mission by quickly getting qualified and being there with an open mind and a positive attitude. Many times . . . my [support] . . . allows an additional qualified mechanic with many more years of experience to help with the job, thus reducing the time commitment required to complete the job or task.
Q: What message to you have for a young man or woman who is considering joining the Navy?
A: The Navy is a lifestyle that requires a lot of dedication, perseverance, honor, courage and commitment. My advice is to do a LOT of research ahead of time using all the resources at your disposal (Google, YouTube, etc.). Make a decision that will make you happy and that you know you will love what you do. There are many jobs in the Navy to choose from. Pick what you know you will love to do. It will be much easier to wake up and stay motivated for your job every single day when your job is doing what you love to do. Remember the big picture, and the mission. Cling onto all the positives going into this and hold on to them throughout boot camp and the rest of your career. This will take you far!
Q: Your current deployment is tied to COVID-19, what will you do when the pandemic is over?
A: This deployment has been a very fulfilling experience for me. I have learned a lot about leadership and how to run a team. I have an amazing team and a wonderful chain of command. When this is all over, I will return home also continuing my civilian job I love doing.
If you would like to see someone featured in Five Questions, contact Jim Franco at 518-878-1000 or [email protected]