By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) David P. McKee, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea - More than 25 Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) completed the second week of the ship's new indoctrination program (I-Division) Aug. 12, ensuring they are on the path to future success.
I-Division, which officially kicked off Aug. 1, is an improved program that allows newly reporting Sailors of all paygrades to complete administrative requirements and basic watchstanding, damage control and maintenance qualifications before reporting to their assigned divisions.
According to Master Chief Navy Career Counselor (AW/SW) John Leavitt, Makin Island's command career counselor and I-Division coordinator, thoroughly preparing each Sailor who arrives on board is the first step to ensuring overall mission readiness.
"Consolidating sponsorship, mentorship, qualifications and personnel readiness under one central integration point ensures a fully-indoctrinated Sailor in every respect prior to reporting to their ultimate workcenter," said Leavitt.
According to Leavitt, the time a newly reporting Sailor remains in I-Division is based on how quickly they get through the qualification and requalification process. An experienced Sailor with previous sea duty would not need to remain in the division as long as a seaman reporting directly from basic training.
Leavitt also said he utilized seasoned petty officers on board Makin Island as the leaders to help stand up the new division.
"In the past, if new Sailors checked in to their workcenters which were shorthanded, they were put to work," said Internal Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW/AW) Shantel Franklin, I-Division's leading petty officer. "They might end up delinquent on their basic qualifications which could negatively impact their career."
I-Division Sailors said they enjoy the opportunity to complete their basic qualifications during their first months on board.
"It is a great that my parent division does not have to worry about me getting my 3-M, basic damage control training, messenger of the watch and petty officer of the watch qualifications," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handler) 3rd Class (AW) Carla Benson. "Now all that I need to concentrate on are the specific qualifications for my parent division."
Sailors assigned to I-Division also said the new program is helping make their adjustment to sea duty easier.
"It helps me get used to the daily routine of the ship," said Operations Specialist Seaman Recruit Uneika Thomas who just arrived at the command last week. "The fleet is new to me and I would have been lost without this program."
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."