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News from USS Boxer

News from
USS Makin Island

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About Makin Island (LHD 8)
Makin Island was delivered to the United States Navy April 16, 2009. With initial training and certification successfully completed, the ship now begas its transit to the West Coast. Makin Island was commissioned in San Diego on Oct. 24, 2009.

Makin Island's keel was laid in 2006 at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast, in Pascagoula, Miss., where it remained in construction for the next three years.

She is the final amphibious assault ship built in the LHD-1 Wasp-class, but the first of the class built with Gas Turbine Engines and an Electric Drive. Steam is not used on board for heating or water production as in previous LHDs. Other significant changes from previous LHD-class ships include the Watermist Fire Suppression Systems, a fiber-optic Machinery Control System (which is also integrated with the Damage Control Systems), the SPQ-9B radar and Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC).

As the final member of the Wasp-class LHDs, Makin Island sets the stage for future advances in U.S. Navy amphibious forces and for the successor currently under-development for the Wasp class, the America (LHA 6) class of amphibious landing ships.

'Green ship' Makin Island commissioned
10/24/2009
NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was formally commissioned in a ceremony on Naval Air Station North Island Oct. 24.
The ship, which has been dubbed the "Prius of Navy warships," arrived in San Diego in mid-September, three years after her christening. The ship brought over 1,000 Sailors and their families to the San Diego community.
"I am eager for Makin Island to finally join the fleet," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "The Sailors of this crew exemplify the best this nation has to offer. They represent America's Navy with pride and distinction and proudly serve as part of a global force for good."
Makin Island is the final amphibious assault ship built in the LHD-1 Wasp-class, but is the first of the class built with gas turbine engines and electric drive.

 

LHD 8 Medical Department hosts first medical student
5/14/2015
by MC3 Robin W. Peak, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) is hosting its first medical student from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland.
The LHD amphibious assault ship's medical department already boasts the largest and most capable medical facility in the fleet, aside from the hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), making this interaction another step in allowing Navy Medicine to train personnel in different environments.
Capt. Tom Miller, (Ret.) associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at USUHS said, "The USU Family Medicine Department sponsors a number of operational medicine rotations with family physicians in a variety of operational settings. The Makin Island experience is the first of its kind."
Ensign Rachel A. Cline, from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania and 2011 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (PITT), is finishing her second year at USUHS and is the medical student aboard Makin Island completing her third clinical clerkship.
"The fact that I get to work here and be the first student to do a clerkship here is phenomenal," said Cline.
She went on to say, "It's a great experience to see how the medical team works on board; but also how the ship operates as a whole."
After graduating from PITT, Cline took a few years off from school and worked in a laboratory setting where she was published in various research articles before making the decision to attend medical school.
"Working in labs was great, and I've always had a passion for the sciences," said Cline, "but I'm also a people person so I wanted to do something to work with people and ensure they live the best lives possible."
She applied and was accepted to a myriad of medical schools and ultimately chose USUHS.
"The military, in particular the Navy, has always been something that I thought I would want to do, and when I finally decided that I was going to join, USUHS was the best choice for my career," said Cline.
She went on to say, "USUHS has the best military physician training program along with a great medical program, and financially, the military takes care of all the costs where as I would have had to take out vast amounts in loans at a civilian school."
The program, as with all medical programs, is four years and involves two years of classroom study and two years of clinical clerkships. Clerkships are a part of the student's curriculum and rotate through the different medical specialties.
Cline said, "Typically the clerkships offered are in specialties such as Family Medicine, surgery, pediatrics, anesthesiology and a multitude of others."
Predominantly, the clerkships are offered at military hospitals and military treatment facilities such as Walter Reid Military Hospital in Bethesda and Cline said, "This clerkship is unique in that I'm actually on a warfighting ship."
"Roughly 20,000 doctors are made each year, and only several hundred of them are military. Very few get the opportunity to go on a ship underway as a student and see the unique challenges of the embarked medical providers; Ensign Cline is experiencing it first hand," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew S. Bidlack, senior medical officer aboard Makin Island.
"She's getting to know the jobs these Sailors are doing and the dangerous environment that they are working in," Bidlack added, "so in the future when she is treating a boatswain's mate, she has a practical understanding of that Sailor and the specific hazards associated with his or her job. That understanding will enable her to better treat patients."
Cline's primary tasks involve shadowing the medical providers on board as well as seeing patients and coming up with differential diagnoses that she will present to one of the staff.
"Basically, I see a patient and come up with what I think is going on with them and also a list of other possibilities that it could be," said Cline. "I then present those findings to the medical staff with a plan for treatment."
Cline has seen patients for many ailments including orthopedic and respiratory problems, given various injections and has even assisted in a mole removal.
"To have this kind of experience is priceless," she said enthusiastically. "Everybody from the doctors to the corpsmen has different experiences and knowledge to offer, and I have learned so much from them."
Bidlack added, "Medical students are like sponges for knowledge. She is extremely eager to learn about her job and the ship."
He continued to say, "Here we are in the Navy continuing the centuries old practice of medicine-at-sea on the Makin Island in the most capable medical facility in the fleet, and she truly recognizes the uniqueness of what's happening."
Cline's eagerness to learn her job is also coupled with her desire to be a Sailor.
When asked how she was enjoying being on the Makin Island she smiled and said, "I like the ship life. The Navy was always my choice of branches. My grandfather, Nicholas Pestrock, was a machinist's mate third class on board the USS Leedstown (APA-56) during World War II. He always told me that when he was in the Navy those were the best years of his life, and that really stuck with me."
With a big, bright smile on her face, she continued, "And when I commissioned he told me that he wished he was younger so he could do it with me. Then he stood at attention and saluted me."
Cline will have been on board the Makin Island for four weeks when her clerkship is finished and said that the biggest thing she has learned on board hasn't been in the medical department.
"I've really come to know how vastly different every Sailor's life is in the Navy," said Cline. "They come from different backgrounds all over the U.S. and various parts of the world, and I feel that the more I can learn about the Sailors, and not only their jobs but their lives, the better I will be able to treat them."
Cline will also be talking to Sailors aboard Makin Island about the various paths in to Navy medicine during a Career in Navy Medicine Interest Group that was created by Bidlack.
"I feel that anybody can succeed in this field," said Cline, "so I want people to know that they shouldn't let any fears they have about going this route get in the way of their dreams. If you have a passion, you should go for it."
When Cline finishes her clerkship on the Makin Island, she will have a little more than two years left in her program and is slated to graduate from USUHS in May of 2017.
Though Cline is the first medical student to do a clerkship on board Makin Island, she will not be the last. Two other students will be doing clerkships aboard Makin Island later this year, and Bidlack anticipates that this will be a positive learning experience for them and encourages more students in the future to seek out these unique educational experiences.

Makin Island visits Duqm, Oman
1/8/2015
by MC2 Lawrence Davis, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

DUQM, Oman (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), embarked with Amphibious Squadron Five and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) concluded a seven-day port visit in Duqm, Oman Jan. 5.
The visit provided Sailors and Marines the opportunity to experience the culture and hospitality of Oman after 115 days at sea.
"I am very proud of the ambassadorship our Sailors and Marines displayed in this port," said Capt. Jon P. Rodgers, commanding officer, USS Makin Island. "The welcoming hospitality we've received in Duqm was a first for many, and the crew can state they celebrated the New Year in Oman alongside the wonderful Omani people. While being at sea for more than 100 days is often routine because of the operational demands in this theater, the 'salt' in this crew more than proved the expeditionary value of our naval force; but it is good to pull into a port when we can."
During the port visit, Sailors and Marines participated in various festivities on the pier including team sports such as flag football, soccer, a basketball tournament, a 5K run/walk and even a game of cricket with some of the local workers. Local vendors also provided souvenir shopping.
Makin Island's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) staff coordinated a tour for Sailors and Marines to visit a local resort where they were able to go swimming, utilize the facility's wireless internet access and try the local cuisine.
"It was very relaxing and enjoyable," said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Walter Vergara, assigned to Makin Island's administrative department. "The food and entertainment were great and it was nice to be able to get off the ship, relax and enjoy time off in a different country."
The visit also gave the crew an opportunity to complete many tasks including preservation of the ship's hull and inport maintenance.
"We accomplished a lot during this port visit," said Seaman William Mack, a Sailor assigned to Makin Island's Deck Department. "It's nice to look at the ship and see all of the hard work we were able to get done here in Duqm."
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

USS Makin Island holds change of command at sea
12/27/2014
by MC2 Lawrence Davis, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- Capt. Jon P. Rodgers relieved Capt. Alvin Holsey as commanding officer of Makin Island. Rodgers becomes the ship's fifth commanding officer since the ship's commissioning in 2009.
"I'm honored to command USS Makin Island and all who sail in this warship," said Rodgers. "The awesome performance of this ship and crew during this deployment is a testament to the combined talents of our Sailors and Marines. I look forward to commanding such an awesome crew as we sail alongside our Marine shipmates."
Capt. Stephen McKone, commander, Amphibious Squadron Five, gave his thoughts on the ceremony.
"As we witness today's change of command, we are given the opportunity to commemorate both the achievements those who have served aboard this ship have already accomplished as well as those to come," said McKone.
During Holsey's tenure, Makin Island completed a 14-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA). The ship received various PMA related repairs and upgrades including maintenance to the ship's flight deck and propulsion system and upgrades to the ship's communications systems. Upon completion of the ship's PMA, Makin Island successfully executed sea trials and a condensed work-up cycle. Makin Island and the crew are currently serving on the ship's second deployment.
"To the core of Team Raider, the troops. Goals, strength, and determination. Your determination to excel is truly inspiring," said Holsey. "For the young folks just starting out, you are what you aspire to be and not what you are now. You are what you do with your youth, you are what you do with your mind."
Rodgers, a native of Humboldt, Tennessee, received his commission as a surface warfare officer upon graduation from Cornell University in 1990. He attended the National Defense University, graduating with honors from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces with a Masters of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy. He attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island with a Masters of Arts in National Security Strategy. He also graduated from the Defense Acquisition University where he participated in the Shipbuilding Industry Study. He studied shipbuilding processes and Government-Industry relations in over 30 domestic and foreign shipyards.
Rodgers' sea duty assignments include USS England (CG22), USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Amphibious Squadron THREE staff, USS Cleveland (LPD 7), and most recently, USS Ponce (AFSB 15) where he served as commanding officer.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Makin Island MWR holds 'Reindeer Games'
12/19/2014
by MC2 (SW/AW) Lawrence Davis, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- As Christmas melodies echoed throughout the hangar bay of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), smiles on Sailors' faces brought light to the dimly blue lit space as they participated in the command's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) hosted "Reindeer Games," Dec. 10.
Makin Island Fun Boss Kristen Venoy coordinated the team event, which included six games: The Santa Sleigh Relay, Wreath Hoops, Pin the Parts on Frosty, a Milk and Christmas Cookie Eating Contest, Reindeer Scramble, and Christmas Carol Frenzy.
"I wanted to host as many Christmas-themed events as possible to help keep our Sailors' minds off of being away from home during the holidays," said Venoy.
Sailors divided into three teams of four and decided on team names: "Rudolf & Pals," "Team Mistletoe," and the "Islander Misfits." Venoy read off the rules and prepared everyone for the start of the competition.
"The more the merrier," said Venoy. "We've got our teams and we're ready to kick off Christmas with tonight's event."
Pin the Parts on Frosty was first. Sailors lined up to be blindfolded, spun around three times, and guided toward the rare sighting of a snowman in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility. With only the guidance of their teammate's voices, they had to guess where to pin Frosty the Snowman's hat, eyes, nose, mouth, scarf, and buttons.
"It's a morale booster, especially after a hard day's work," said Seaman Daniella Torrence, a Sailor from Chesapeake, Virginia, assigned to Makin Island's deck department.
Santa Claus won't be thrilled this year about the shortage of Christmas cookies aboard Makin Island after the second event where a representative from each team devoured oatmeal raisin cookies and gulped down a cup of milk competing for best time.
"It's a lot of fun," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Joe Schweiner, a Makin Island Sailor from Green Bay, Wisconsin. "It's nice to get out of the office and play a few games while deployed during the holidays."
The holiday cheer continued throughout the games and at the conclusion of the event Venoy announced the winners. First place was earned by "Team Mistletoe." Second place was awarded to "Rudolf & Pals," and third place went to the "Islander Misfits."
Regardless of who placed where, Sailors said they had a great time with this year's "Reindeer Games."
"The Santa Sleigh was really funny watching everyone work as a team to win the race with their feet tied together," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Ashley Gonzalez, from Bakersfield, California, assigned to Makin Island's medical department.
"I enjoyed the Reindeer Scramble because that's the event I did the best in," Torrence said with a smile.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Makin Island completes ammunition onload
2/15/2014
by MC2(SW) Princess L. Brown, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) successfully completed an ammunition onload, Feb. 14.
This evolution was an intricate part of the ship's preparation to become fully operational for deployment.
Sailors from weapons department worked around the clock, taking on approximately 878 pallets of conventional ordnance.
"I am very proud of each and every ordnanceman and fire controlman onboard the USS Makin Island," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Mattie Hackney. "They worked more than 18 hours a day to ensure that the onload was completed safely and expeditiously. We had Sailors from the PCU America and the USS Peleliu to assist in this major logistical process that was necessary for the ship to become fully operational in its war fighting capabilities."
Teamwork played a major role in the success of the onload. The mission was completed by vertical replenishment with the assistance of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Three (HSC-23) and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two One (HSC-21) transferring ammunition from shore to Makin Island.
"On a personal note, I feel that even though we all came from different ships, different training we all came together as a team to accomplish the onload no matter how tired we were," said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Kana Boudreaux.
Developing Sailors, training crews to fight and win, and providing warships ready for combat are the subjects of Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman III, Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet's "Vision for the 2026 Surface Fleet", which consolidates a set of objectives and policies to maximize surface force readiness by concentrating on warfighting ability, sustainable excellence and wholeness over time.
Makin Island has incorporated this vision into its day-to-day operations.
"In order to prepare for the onload there was a significant amount of time spent training personnel and preparing our spaces and equipment for it," said Hackney. "We had to ensure that each Ordnanceman was qualified in accordance with the qualification certification program to handle ordnance. There were numerous forklift classes and elevator classes conducted to ensure that we were ready for the evolution."
Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is the Navy's newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship capable of utilizing surface and air assets to move Marine forces ashore. The ship is named in honor of the daring World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion, on Japanese held Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name USS Makin Island.

USS Makin Island successfully completes sea trials

1/21/2014
by MC3 (SW) Kory Alsberry, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) completed a nine-day scheduled sea trials on Jan. 17, after coming out of a 13-month Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA).
During the nine-day underway period, Makin Island crew members tested a number of shipboard systems, including communication circuits, damage control systems, navigation systems and propulsion plant. The crew also conducted full-power runs of the ship, ballasting demonstrations and flight operations.
Sea trials gave the ship an opportunity to operate and test equipment as designed following a lengthy maintenance period. It was also a chance to see if the repairs were done correctly, according to Capt. Alvin Holsey, Makin Island's commanding officer.
"After a 13-month maintenance period, the crew performed exceptionally well," said Holsey. "We had a few growing pains, but their focus remained on executing safe and precise evolutions."
Makin Island's Executive Officer, Capt. Michael S. Feyedelem, expressed the PMA provided an opportunity to upgrade existing ship systems, repair damaged or degraded equipment and bring the ship back to a level commensurate with a brand new ship.
"The maintenance period allowed significant repairs and design changes to be made to the ship's exhaust stacks as well as numerous other upgrades to keep Makin Island at the forefront of operational capability," said Feyedelem.
Inspectors observed Makin Island crew members as they conducted in-port and at-sea demonstrations and checks, of critical shipboard systems.
"I think the more practice we get the better," said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Patrick J. Webb, Makin Island crew member. "Most of the crew has never been out to sea, so doing these drills gave us a taste of what to expect when we're out on deployment. I'd rather go through trial and error during a drill now, then not knowing what to do during a real casualty."
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
The ship's hybrid-electric propulsion system is designed to run on auxiliary propulsion motors at low speeds and on gas turbines at higher speeds. This technology allows the Department of the Navy to reduce the use of fossil fuels that leads to reduced carbon emissions and cleaner air.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 19, 2012) Sailors and Marines and their friends and family watch an air show from the weather decks aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). Makin Island and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are underway on a Tiger Cruise in the U.S. 3rd Fleet Area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Daniel J. Walls

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 19, 2012) Sailors and Marines and their friends and family watch an air show from the weather decks aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). Makin Island and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are underway on a Tiger Cruise in the U.S. 3rd Fleet Area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Daniel J. Walls

USS Makin Island returns to San Diego with friends and family on Tiger Cruise
6/16/2012
by MC2 Dominique Pineiro, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with not just the crew, but also a large group of friends and family members of Sailors and embarked Marines aboard for a scheduled, "Tiger Cruise," June 14.
A total of 265 people were brought aboard to conclude the last leg of the ship's seven-month maiden deployment. The Tiger Cruise allows family members and friends the opportunity to experience what life is like for their shipboard Sailor or Marine.
"We came up with a PQS (personnel qualification standard) for them to fill out so they can travel around the ship and see the different workspaces with their sponsor," said Maj. Joseph Troyan, Makin Island's air operations officer and lead organizer for the ship's Tiger Cruise. "Once they have everything signed off they'll earn a, 'Tiger Pin.' We also have other activities lined up to highlight the different aspects of an amphibious ship like this."
Activities scheduled for the cruise include a sea and air power demonstration, live fire hose and pipe patching drills, as well as live-fire exercises with the .50-caliber machine gun, M-240, M-203 and the close-in weapon system.
"Some of our current enlisted people and officers did Tiger Cruises when they were younger," said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Mario Albright, assistant planner for the cruise. "They saw what the Navy and Marines were about when they were kids and now here they are in the military and some of them brought Tigers with them."
For some of the Tigers aboard, this wasn't their first cruise. Danny Colcleaser, father of Senior Chief Yeoman (SW/AW) Mark Colcleaser, described the trip as a special experience because his first Tiger Cruise was in 1988 at the beginning of his son's career.
"I saw him go from an 18-year old boy to a mature man," said the elder Colcleaser. "It's really been a pleasure for me as a father to watch that growth and see how he's changed. It makes me feel proud."
In addition to his father, Colcleaser also brought along his 13-year old son, Andrew, for the tour.
Andrew said the Tiger Cruise has already influenced him to follow in his father's footsteps and join the military.
"I think I want to be in the military, not only just because of the Tiger Cruise but because of my dad," said Andrew. "I think this Tiger Cruise will make me want to specifically join the Navy."
Colcleaser said having his father and son aboard has been an unbelievable experience and one he will cherish.
"It means the world to me," said Colcleaser. "I got to show my dad a long time ago when I didn't even know if I was going to stay in. It means the world to me to bring my dad back after 25 years, at the end of my career, and to bring my son in here also. He's never really had the opportunity to see what dad does."
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations.

Makin Island, Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Groups turn over duties

5/6/2012
From Makin Island and Iwo Jima ARG Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, Gulf of Aden (NNS) -- The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were relieved of their duties in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) by the Iwo Jima ARG and the 24th MEU, May 5.
The Makin Island ARG deployed Nov. 14, 2011 and conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation engagements, and multiple bilateral military exercises with regional partners within the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
"I could not be more pleased with the hard work and dedication from every Sailor and Marine," said U.S. Navy Capt. Donald R. Cuddington, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) Five. "Each individual's outstanding professionalism and dedication to their training during our pre-deployment phase and through this deployment contributed greatly and was the key to the overall success of the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU team."
Following the turnover, Makin Island ARG will depart the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR and return to their homeport of San Diego.
"As I look back, every ship had some challenges either before or during this deployment; however, each ship met every challenge or every mission with great commitment and determination to succeed," said Cuddington. "I would say the key to our success was, that the blue-green team always focused on the mission first. It was never a blue mission or a green mission. It was our mission."
The Makin Island ARG is comprised of PHIBRON Five, with detachments from Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 and ACU 5.
The ships that make up the Makin Island ARG are San Diego-based amphibious assault ship Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52).
The 11th MEU major subordinate elements consist of Battalion Landing Team 3/1, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (VMM) 268 (Reinforced) and Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 11.
"The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has completed every task and exceeded expectations in supporting both U.S. Central Command and U.S. Navy Forces Central Command as a forward deployed Marine air-ground task force," said Col. Michael Hudson, 11th MEU's commanding officer. "The Marines and Sailors have continuously demonstrated the flexibility and adaptability of the Navy and Marine Corps team as they hit every pitch. This journey started over a year ago, during pre-deployment training and we leave here now proud of what we have accomplished.
"As we begin our voyage home to our friends and families in Southern California, we know that the 24th MEU, who is relieving us, is well led, trained and ready to take the next watch as America's forward deployed force," Hudson added.
The Iwo Jima ARG includes PHIBRON Eight, with detachments from TACRON 21, FST 4, HSC 22, BMU 2, ACU 2 and ACU 4. ARG ships include Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story-based amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
This is the maiden deployment for USS New York (LPD 21), built with seven-and-a-half tons of steel from the World Trade Center, symbolizing sacrifice while having the watch being forward deployed.
"We've been working hard to prepare for our new duties in our new theatre, as we recently completed exercise African Lion off the coast of Morocco shortly after departing for deployment, and we are looking forward to getting work done in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR," said U.S. Navy Capt. Mark H. Scovill, commodore, PHIBRON Eight.
Embarked with the Iwo Jima ARG is the 24th MEU, a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force, comprised of major subordinate elements: Battalion Landing Team 1/2, VMM-261 (Reinforced) and CLB-24.
"The 24th MEU is manned, trained, equipped and ready to serve as U.S. 5th Fleet's forward deployed crisis response force," said Col. Frank Donovan, commanding officer, 24th MEU. "Teamed with our great Navy partners aboard the amphibious ships of PHIBRON Eight, we make a truly flexible, adaptable, decisive, and when required, lethal Navy and Marine Corps expeditionary force. We stand ready to take over for 11th MEU/PHIBRON Five and continue the superior work they have done across the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR. We wish them fair winds and following seas as they begin their transit home."
The Iwo Jima and embarked 24th MEU will provide support for maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.

Makin Island Sailors raise more than $50,000 for NMCRS
5/5/2012
by MCSN Kory D. Alsberry, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea (NNS) -- Sailors deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) raised more than $50,000 during the 2012 Navy and Marine Core Relief Society (NMCRS) fund drive, which ended April 30.
Two-months of creative fundraising that took placed while the ship was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area or responsibility (AOR) resulted in a final total of $50,742 in contributions.
According to Chief Logistics Specialist Yuly Mejia, Makin Island's NMCRS fundraising committee chairperson, the ship set a goal of raising $30,000 which would exceed the $29,054 raised during the 2011 campaign.
"It felt good to set a goal and accomplish it," said Mejia. "I feel like not only did NMCRS accomplish a lot, but the whole ship accomplished something."
Mejia said she was surprised at the total of contributions made by the crew and the fact the fundraising team exceeded their goal by more than $20,000.
"It just shows what type of crew we have," said Mejia. "Sailors are giving money out of their checks every month and donating money to our fundraisers to help their fellow Sailors throughout the fleet. It's nice to see so many people care."
Mejia said the donations came from two sources, allotments from a Sailor's monthly pay and fundraisers held by Makin Island volunteers.
According to Mejia, the fundraising team had three specific goals during this year's campaign: to make 100% contact with the crew, to educate Makin Island Sailors on the many services NMCRS provides, and to have fun while raising the funds to support the NMCRS.
Mejia also said that the key to her team's success was the fact that every department on the ship provided at least two volunteers to assist with fundraising efforts. This allowed the team to get the message out to all of the Sailors on the ship.
Sailors who volunteered to help with fundraising efforts said they enjoyed the opportunity to help raise money for the NMCRS.
"I volunteered, because it's a good program," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Ulanday, a NMCRS fundraising team member. "It's Sailors helping other Sailors out when they need help. We are counting on each other; it's truly one team one fight."
According to their official website, NMCRS helped more than 96,000 Sailors, Marines and families in need by providing more than $48 million in financial assistance during 2011.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

USS Makin Island certified as first west coast 'Large Deck' to award EIDWS pins
3/26/2012
by MCCS (SW/AW) Donnie W. Ryan,
USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) became the first West Coast "Large Deck" authorized to operate an afloat Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) program and award the EIDWS pin to personnel following final certification by Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, March 21.
Makin Island joins USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), both homeported in Norfolk, Va., as the only large deck ships authorized to operate afloat EIDWS programs.
The certification was granted after nearly a year of intense planning and complex administrative work that had to be accomplished in order to receive the final approval to operate the program.
"This is a great honor for Makin Island to become the first 'large deck' on the West Coast to be able to offer the EIDWS program," said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/IDW/AW) Brian M. Costa, Makin Island's EIDWS program coordinator. "We received a lot of help from the Wasp as they were the first large deck amphib to get certified."
Costa said Makin Island Sailors who achieve the EIDWS qualification will develop a greater understanding for the other ratings in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC).
"This isn't a qualification that can be earned in two weeks," said Costa. "The EIDWS program focuses on a lot of complex systems and shipboard systems that Sailors must learn in order to complete the qualification process."
Costa said the command had to create a local instruction for the program, identify subject matter experts, and reproduce common core and platform-specific Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) books, and issue designation letters as part of the approval process.
Costa said that on board Makin Island, the enlisted EIDWS program will be limited to the IDC ratings of information systems technician, cryptologic technician, intelligence specialist and aerographer's mate.
According to Costa, a team of more than 30 Sailors from Makin Island and the embarked staffs worked together to get the certification finalized.
"It was really inspiring to see every IDC rate come together and put forth the effort in making this program well-rounded," said Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 1st Class (IDW) Joseph M. Caddy, who is assigned to the Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 5 staff currently embarked aboard Makin Island. "The team did a fantastic job at making sure the program did not heavily weigh in on one aspect, making it an IT pin, or a CT pin, or an IS pin; but a program that evenly leverages critical skill sets from all facets of information warfare."
Caddy, who earned his EIDWS pin at his parent command prior to Makin Island's deployment, said he thinks it is extremely important for IDC ratings to have a strong background in information warfare and how it is applied in the Navy.
"When you see a Sailor with an EIDWS pin on his chest, you immediately know that Sailor is versed in information warfare," said Caddy. "It's especially a big deal to Sailors who specialize in IDC rates where there are very few opportunities to go out to sea."
Cryptologic Technical (Technical) 1st Class (SW/IDW) Michael E. Cibor, assigned to the COMPHIBRON-5 staff, earned his EIDWS pin more than a year ago at a previous command and also helped with the certification process for Makin Island program.
"I was the training coordinator for the program which entailed writing the schedule, location and instructors for training, maintaining a running record of attendance, topics covered and progress by individuals in the program," said Cibor.
Cibor said he also helped to ensure study guides and lesson presentations were correct as well as assisted with the creation of the test question database.
"Everyone worked hard to achieve this common goal," added Cibor. "It is a tremendous honor to be a member of the first EIDWS qualified ship on the West Coast and I look forward to assisting the rest of the IDC personnel on board with earning the pin."
Established Feb. 19, 2010, the goal of the Navy's EIDWS program is to provide a common link among the IDC communities and institute a rigorous qualification program to identify highly qualified and diversified information dominance professionals.
The EIDWS insignia is a two and three-quarter inches by one and one-eighth inches, silver oxidized metal pin showing a background of ocean waves, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass and lightning bolt with a fouled anchor and globe.
While Makin Island's enlisted EIDWS program, like all afloat EIDWS programs, is only open to information dominance community ratings on the ship, Sailors in other ratings who transfer to shore-based IDC commands in the future could have an opportunity to earn the warfare device.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Makin Island wins prestigious Ney Award for excellence in food service
2/8/2012
by MC1 (SW) David P. McKee, USS Makin Island Public Affairs
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (NNS) -- The Supply department aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was named winner of the 2012 Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Award for Food Service Excellence, Feb. 3.
The announcement was made by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus via official naval message in ALNAV 010/12, released Feb. 3. Makin Island, the Pacific Fleet finalist, beat out Atlantic Fleet finalist USS Bataan (LHD 5) to take top honors in the large afloat category of the competition.
The Ney awards program is co-sponsored by the secretary of the Navy and the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA). Ney awards encourage excellence in Navy food service programs, with the objective of improving the quality of life for Navy personnel.
An evaluation team, made up of senior Navy culinary specialists as well as IFSEA representatives, visited Makin Island last fall during a surprise inspection of the ship's food service facilities. The results of that inspection elevated them to the position of Pacific Fleet finalist and made the ship eligible for the overall award.
"Tremendous teamwork, engaged leadership, commitment to excellence and execution with precision goes into winning the Ney Award," said Cmdr. Carla Meyers, Makin Island's supply officer. "The Makin Island food service team is absolutely phenomenal and enjoys showcasing their talents to the crew every day."
Meyers said she credits the combined talents of the culinary specialists, food service attendants, mess decks master-at-arms and engineering department personnel committed to effecting timely repairs on equipment deficiencies for the award.
Master Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Igmedio "Julio" Iglesia, Makin Island's food service division leading chief petty officer, said the award had a lot to do with junior personnel attending the culinary specialist school during the ship's precommissioning period.
Iglesia also expressed great appreciation for those outside of the normal food service division for their help in winning the award.
"I would like to thank all the previous and current FSAs [food service attendants], and the mess decks masters-at-arms who made this quest a success," said Iglesia. "They are the ones who helped us set the high standard of sanitation and cleanliness."
Makin Island's selection for the award marks Iglesia's 11th career Ney Award and Meyers firmly believes Iglesia's experience and leadership played a major role in the ship's selection.
"He had signs posted all around stating 'Think Ney every day!'," said Meyers. "His subtle hint and lots of training worked."
Highlighting the level of food service experience aboard Makin Island, Meyers also said that the ship's food service officer had previously served on the White House staff for former President George W. Bush.
Meyers said the culinary specialists on board Makin Island are not only good cooks, they are good Sailors as well, with most of them holding dual enlisted warfare qualifications.
Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) James Nagle, leading petty officer for the food service division, said he attributes his team's success to hard work and dedication from all Sailors and Marines involved in serving the crew.
"It is an honor to win this prestigious award," said Nagle. "The team we have, from our food service attendants all the way up to the senior leadership on Makin Island, is the reason we earned this award."
For Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Michael Ferrara who works as an assistant galley watch captain, preparation for the award meant many extra hours for the galley staff and food service attendants.
"The Ney Award is more than just a pat on the back, it's more like winning the Super Bowl," said Ferrara.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
Makin Island on first operational deployment

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 18, 2011) Fire controlmen assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) load RIM-7P NATO Sea Sparrow missiles into a Mk 29 Sea Sparrow launcher. Makin Island is on its first operational deployment and is the first Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Alan Gragg

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 18, 2011) Fire controlmen assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) load RIM-7P NATO Sea Sparrow missiles into a Mk 29 Sea Sparrow launcher. Makin Island is on its first operational deployment and is the first Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Alan Gragg

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 14, 2011) Sailors and Marines man the rails aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as the ship departs San Diego on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy. This will be the maiden deployment for Makin Island, the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship and the only U.S. Navy ship with a hybrid electric propulsion system. U.S. Navy photo by MCC John Lill

SAN DIEGO (Nov. 14, 2011) Sailors and Marines man the rails aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as the ship departs San Diego on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy. This will be the maiden deployment for Makin Island, the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship and the only U.S. Navy ship with a hybrid electric propulsion system. U.S. Navy photo by MCC John Lill

Makin Island ARG departs on maiden deployment
11/14/2011
From Expeditionary Strike Group 3 Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) departed San Diego for deployment Monday, Nov. 14.
USS Makin Island (LHD 8), one of the Navy's newest, and most efficient amphibious assault ships, makes its maiden deployment as the flag ship for Amphibious Squadron 5 and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to be equipped with gas turbines and an electric drive system, replacing the older technology of steam boilers. With the ship's electric drive running, which is similar in functionality to that of a hybrid car, it is possible to transit longer distances using less fuel.
Additionally, Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to have an advanced electrical plant that powers all of the ship's auxiliaries, including the capability to produce 200,000 gallons of fresh water every day.
The Makin Island ARG, consisting of Makin Island, amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and embarked support units, is commanded by Capt. Humberto Quintanilla, commander, Amphibious Squadron 5.
"Our Navy and Marine Corps team plays a critical role in facilitating international maritime security cooperation," said Quintanilla. "Global maritime security can only be achieved through the unity of international and regional maritime integration, awareness, and response initiatives. The safety and economic interests of the United States and our allies and partner nations depend on unimpeded trade across the world's oceans."
Over the next several months, the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU will work together to support the nation's maritime strategy abroad.
The Makin Island ARG helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within Third Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the nation's maritime strategy when forward deployed.

Makin Island conducts first ammo onload
3/19/2011
by MC1 Andrew D. Wiskow, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) took on approximately 1,200 pallets of ordnance during its first full ammunition onload while underway in the Pacific Ocean March 14-18.
The ordnance onload was a major logistical process necessary for the ship to become fully operational in its war fighting capabilities, while also providing essential training for the crew.
"For the past two years we've been training for this moment," said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Robert W. Jeffers. "This is like the Super Bowl for us."
Makin Island's Weapons Department dedicated a significant amount of time training personnel and preparing its spaces and equipment for the onload.
"It was a lot of forklift driving skills and planning for different types of ammo going into different weapons magazines; as different classifications of ammo can't be stored together," said Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Trevor Drashner.
Ordnance was transferred to the Makin Island both from shore facilities as well as from USS Peleliu (LHA 5), utilizing both helicopters and Landing Craft Units (LCU) to get the job done. During the evolution, the ship and her crew encountered adverse weather and reduced visibility while off the coast of Southern California.
"I would say it's been a success," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Matthew Muravez. "As far as safety is concerned, our guys have done everything by the book. No mishaps.
Makin Island is the latest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and is currently preparing for her maiden deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation later this year.


USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (Dec. 8, 2009) - The first NATO Sea Sparrow missile to be launched from USS Makin Island (LHD 8) exits the forward NATO launcher towards a training target. This training evolution proved the accuracy of the system with two-out-of-two confirmed kills. This launch was executed as a part of Combined Combat System Ship Qualifications Trials

USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea (Dec. 8, 2009) - The first NATO Sea Sparrow missile to be launched from USS Makin Island (LHD 8) exits the forward NATO launcher towards a training target. This training evolution proved the accuracy of the system with two-out-of-two confirmed kills. This launch was executed as a part of Combined Combat System Ship Qualifications Trials



Sailors assigned to the Wasp class-amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) man the rails as the ship approaches its new homeport of San Diego.
SAN DIEGO (Sept. 14, 2009) Sailors assigned to the Wasp class-amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) man the rails as the ship approaches its new homeport of San Diego. Makin Island is the final amphibious assault ship built in the Wasp class, but the first of the class built with gas turbine engines and an electric drive. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Jon Husman

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The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) transits the Caribbean Sea.

CARIBBEAN SEA (July 17, 2009) The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) transits the Caribbean Sea. Makin Island departed Pascagoula, Miss., July 10 andcircumnavigated South America via the Strait of Magellan to its new homeport of San Diego. During its transit, the ship made port visits in Brazil, Chile and Peru. Makin Island is the final amphibious assault ship built in the LHD-1 Wasp-class, but the first of the class built with gas turbine engines and an electric drive. The ship was commissioned in October 2009. U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Glenn S. Robertson

 






 
 

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