NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- A Seabee assigned to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Southwest Asia Public Works Department (PWD) Naples, Italy is the first service member to complete a certification course through the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA), Jan. 7.
Engineman (EN) 2nd Class Cardea X. Blue, PWD Naples energy conservation coordinator and long-time automotive enthusiast, used his resources at the Navy College and Navy COOL to find out if he could earn an accreditation through AERA for cylinder head and engine machinist, outside of their programs, that lined up directly with the EN rating manual.
"This association [AERA] has higher levels of mechanical knowledge and skill," said Blue. "The course emphasized what I thought I knew and what I didn't about my job. I learned about safety and hazard controls, mission principles, shop management and more which was way more in depth than 'A' school."
AERA is a network of professional engine builders, rebuilders and installers with the expertise and connections to provide anyone with the right answers when they need them. They established documents that define the standards for a rebuilt/remanufactured engine and have clearly differentiated a professionally rebuilt/remanufactured engine from a repaired, partially rebuilt or second hand exchange engine.
As a High Point, N.C. native, Blue has always been interested in cars, car racing and building engine parts. He completed the self-paced course in approximately one month but AERA allows you up to one year to complete it from the initial log on date.
Most enginemen work on auxiliary diesel engines in amphibious U.S. Navy ships or do small boat maintenance in the AC&R shop.
"In order to be a good engineman, you have to know about machinery," said Blue. "This course taught me how to create, build and design on a technician basic level. It provided me the working knowledge and experience of being in a space compared to what the book says."
Blue states that everyone should take the opportunity to better themselves and their job skill especially if it's what you love to do and if it can be recognized outside of the Navy.
Blue's Leading Chief Petty Officer, Chief Builder Manuel Segura, fully supports anyone taking initiative to better themselves in their rate and better the Navy as a whole.
"It makes me proud that Blue took the time and initiative to do something out of the norm; that's the type of person he is," said Segura. "Even though he is not in a Seabee rate, he has embraced the Seabee "Can Do" mentality and is leading by example."