1st Place – Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4
2nd Place – USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41)
3rd Place – USS Kearsarge (LHD 3)
The theme of this year’s Surface Line Week was, “Hard work breeds self-sufficiency.” The competition tested these welders by imposing specific material constraints and job requirements for their entry.
Hull Technician 3rd Class Ryan Solinsky, assigned to ACU 4, welded a miniature Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC). This craft specifically pays homage to the command’s mission. The LCAC is welded to a base plate, completed with the ACU 4 crest welded onto the plate.
“It felt appropriate to build the machine that we spend our time repairing and maintaining to peak performance,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Huff, ACU 4’s maintenance officer. “The entire project was made from scrap materials scavenged from around the command and turned into a piece of art.”
Each welder had one week to create a product that represented their command such as the command’s motto, insignia, history, or namesake. Much like the conditions a welder would face while out to sea, the welders could only craft their entry piece using organic repair equipment found aboard their ships.
“I think being self-sufficient is important because we have to be able to depend on ourselves,” said Hull Technician Fireman Austin Anderson, assigned to the repair division aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). “When we’re a long way from home on deployment, there may be times when no one is able to come and help us. We have confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves and being self-sufficient is the only way we can do that.”
In addition to welding, the welders could gain points by employing a variety of techniques such as brazing, sheet metal work, and carpentry skills to create their entry. Hull Technician 2nd Class Tanner Bowles, assigned to the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) said he enjoyed the event.
“It gave the [hull technicians] on the waterfront the opportunity to show our skills,” said Bowles. “I had fun and I would do it again."
Events like this, while competitive, allow Sailors to showcase and expand their self-sufficient skills.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our Sailors stepped up to take care of their ships despite operating in that challenging environment,” said Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, the commander of SURFLANT. “In addition to having the right Sailors with the right tools and training, self-sufficiency is a key part of ensuring our ships are ready and able to support any tasking. This competition certainly exhibited the strength of Sailors to get it done.”
Surface Line Week was originally scheduled from June 14-18, but was extended to observe the Juneteenth holiday.
SURFLANT mans, trains and equips assigned surface forces and shore activities, ensuring a capable force for conducting prompt and sustained operations in support of United States national interests. The SURFLANT force is composed of 77 ships, 14 pre-commissioning units, and 33 shore commands.
For more SURFLANT news and photos, visit facebook.com/SURFLANT,
www.surflant.usff.navy.mil/, and Twitter - @surflant.