SAN DIEGO - More than 300 students, primarily from elementary and middle schools in the nearby San Ysidro School District, toured the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) as part of the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) "Youth Day" program, Aug. 6.
ANSO is currently holding their 32nd Annual Leadership, Professional Development and Training General Convention in San Diego from Aug. 6-10.
The theme of this year's convention is "ANSO: Today's Vision - Tomorrow's Reality!"
"We have three goals in ANSO," said retired Rear Adm. William D. Rodriguez, the ANSO national president who spoke to the students during the tour. "Number one is to raise awareness, two is to recruit more Hispanics into our sea services, and three is to reach out to the Hispanic communities."
During the visit to the ship, Rodriguez also announced that the San Ysidro School District would be the recipient of a $2,000 grant by General Motors Co. for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.
Rodriguez said Makin Island was chosen as the site for the tour because of the ship's recent advances in technology, including the hybrid-electric propulsion system. He said he hopes the ship tour will encourage students to pursue STEM careers both inside and outside of the military.
During the tour, students visited the ship's flightdeck, well deck, pilot's ready room, medical and dental facilities. Makin Island crew members also set up displays of damage control and firefighting equipment for the students.
"It was so big and awesome," said 11-year-old Preston Precious, a San Ysidro Middle School student expressing his enthusiasm for his first visit to a U.S. Navy warship. "I liked learning what the firefighters do and the search and rescue was really cool; I got a lot of water in my face. My dad was in the Navy, but I didn't know much about it before today."
The students said they also enjoyed lunch on the mess decks with their tour guides and the rest of the ship's crew.
"I had a lot of fun seeing everything on the ship and talking to all the Sailors," said Alejandro Inzunza, another student in the group. "I would definitely join the Navy when I get older."
Following the tour of Makin Island, the students viewed static displays and participated in activities sponsored by the Navy and Coast Guard on board NBSD.
The mission of ANSO is to assist the sea service chiefs in Hispanic workforce recruitment by fostering the personal growth and professional development of officers, enlisted, and civilians; providing mentorship, networking, training and educational opportunities; and engaging the Hispanic community through outreach initiatives
Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.
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.