Makin Island Officers Take Part in Pearl Harbor Professional Military Education Tour 
By Ensign L. Wilson Taylor, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
PEARL HARBOR-- More than 50 Navy and Marine Corps officers from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) took part in a special professional military education tour of historic Pearl Harbor, Nov. 22, during a two-day port visit to Hawaii.

The Nov. 21-23 port visit was the first-ever port visit to Pearl Harbor for the ship, which departed its San Diego homeport, Nov. 14, for a scheduled deployment in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy.

The special tour was coordinated with help from the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT) and featured a boat tour of historic sites around Ford Island, an important part of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Participants also watched a 28-minute film about the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.

As part of the tour, the group visited the USS Arizona Memorial, saw the USS Missouri (BB 63) Museum and learned the colorful history of battleship row.

For many Makin Island officers, it was their first time to visit Pearl Harbor.

"It was a special honor to be afforded the opportunity to be the conning officer for the ship's transit into Pearl Harbor for the first time," said Ens. Tawney A. Nakamura, assigned to Makin Island's Engineering Department. "But visiting the Arizona Memorial instilled a real sense of history and honor to serve in the Navy."

Other Makin Island officers agreed with Nakamura's summary of the memorable tour.

"It was amazing to gain real perspective on an event that I had only learned about in a classroom," said Ens. Aaron B. Diaz, Makin Island's disbursing officer. "To see the size of the battleships and the extent of damage was incredible."

During the tour, Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Jim Landers also reenlisted a Makin Island Sailor, Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Branigan C. Carles at the COMPACFLT boat house.

Carles, a San Diego native, said he chose Pearl Harbor as the location and the Makin Island commanding officer as the reenlisting officer for a number of personal reasons.

"My father was in the Navy and Hawaii is my second home," said Carles. "Since I became the commanding officer's cook I have the highest respect for Capt. Landers, and I was honored to have him reenlist me in the Navy for another four years."

Makin Island, the Navy's newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, 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 which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary Ray Mabus' 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.

Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is named in honor of the World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, 2nd Raider Battalion on Japanese occupied Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."
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