USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - Sailors and Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployed aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) celebrated the Easter holiday with a full day of religious services, a special meal and an egg hunt, April 8.
Kicking off a full day of religious services was a special Easter sunrise service held in the ship's hangar bay. Dozens of crew members awoke early to take part in the event.
"The service is symbolic of the journey and early-morning arrival of women to the tomb of Christ who found he had risen," said Lt. Jeffrey Perry, one of the ship's chaplains who helped put on the early morning service.
Perry said this Easter was the first one he has experienced underway on a Navy ship and one he said he will always remember for the camaraderie he shared.
"Having the service out at sea, I felt a feeling of unity and togetherness with the Sailors and Marines," said Perry.
The sunrise service included praise, worship and songs performed by the ship's choir.
Information Systems Technician Seaman Letticia Gomez, who had not experienced a sunrise service before, said the view of the sunrise through the ship's aircraft elevator door and the music provided an uplifting and memorable setting.
"This service was different for me in a good way," said Gomez, who is assigned to Makin Island's combat systems department. "My church's Easter service is held indoors, so getting to see the sun shining on the water was amazing."
A Roman Catholic Mass, as well as Protestant, Pentecostal, Latter Day Saints and Lutheran religious services also took place aboard the ship as part of the Easter celebration.
A special Easter holiday meal featuring prime rib, ham and lamb was prepared for the crew by the ship's food service staff and served by senior enlisted personnel from the 11th MEU.
"It's not very often we get lamb; it was very good," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class Rolando Calilung, assigned to Makin Island's air department. "It brought back memories of time with my family."
Sailors and Marines also took part in an Easter egg hunt hosted by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office. Colored eggs were hidden at various locations around the ship. Sailors and Marines who found the eggs returned them to the MWR office for special prizes.
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.