Commander U.S. 5th Fleet Visits USS Makin Island 
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donnie W. Ryan, USS Makin Island Public Affairs 
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet met with Sailors and Marines assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) during an overnight visit to the ship, Jan. 14-15.

Vice Adm. Mark Fox embarked the Navy's newest amphibious assault ship, observed flightdeck and well deck operations and met with the ship's crew and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during the visit.

"It's great to be here," Fox told Sailors and Marines during an "all hands" call in the ship's hangar bay. "It's taken a lot of hard work and focused discipline to get where you are."

Fox spoke about the important role the Navy plays in maritime security operations and ensuring that the world's sea lanes remain open in the 5th fleet area of responsibility.

"You are the 9-1-1 force," said Fox. "An amphibious ready group is an extremely flexible force, and I am confident that the Makin Island ARG (Amphibious Ready Group) will excel in any mission that you are called upon to execute."

Fox also spoke about his first deployment as a young naval officer and the many challenges faced by military families.

"I understand the sacrifices it takes to serve," said Fox. "Thank you for your service."

During the all hands call, Fox also recognized the Makin Island Senior Sailor, Sailor, Junior Sailor and Bluejacket of the Quarter award recipients from the 4th quarter of 2011. He also presented Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals to two Marines from the 11th MEU.

"We are extremely proud Vice Adm. Fox took time out of his busy schedule to see how we operate," said Capt. Jim Landers, Makin Island's commanding officer. "This was an opportunity to show off the capabilities and professionalism of our Navy and Marine Corps team."

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 ARG, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
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