USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - Sailors serving aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) were awarded the Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) pin during a ceremony on the ship's mess decks, April 4.
These nine Sailors are the first aboard Makin Island to earn the EIDWS pin since the ship was authorized to operate an EIDWS program by Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet last month.
Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/IDW/AW) Brian Costa, Makin Island's EIDWS program coordinator, said the ship's first pinning ceremony was the result of eight months of planning and complex administrative work that had to be accomplished in order to operate the program.
"This was a team effort on the part of the nearly 30 Sailors who lectured, trained, made the test questions, built the 300 series Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) and sat the qualification boards," said Costa.
Costa said that prior to receiving the EIDWS pin, each Sailor had to complete a PQS package, pass a computerized test that generates a different test for each cycle of participants to maintain the highest integrity, and complete an oral board.
"We have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the ship's program to ensure we uphold the standard and ensure the warfighter has the best training," said Costa.
Chief Aerographer's Mate (AW/IDW/SW) Steven Newsom, one of the nine Sailors awarded the EIDWS pin, said the program broadened his understanding of the other ratings in the Information Dominance Corps.
"The information systems technicians provide the equipment, the aerographer's mates provide environmental analysis and prediction, the intelligence specialists provide information analysis and assessments, and the cryptologic technicians provide signals analysis and interpretation, all to give a tactical advantage to the warfighter," said Newsom.
Newsome said that earning the EIDWS qualification will help him meet the information and intelligence needs to help the Navy execute warfare on the 21st century battlefield.
The EIDWS breast insignia is a two and three-quarter inches by one and one-eighth inches, silver oxidized metal pin showing a background of ocean waves, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass and lightning bolt with a fouled anchor and globe.
Makin Island's enlisted EIDWS program, like all afloat EIDWS programs, is only open to information dominance community ratings of aerographer's mate, cryptologic technician, information systems technician and intelligence specialist. Makin Island, along with USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), are currently the only large-deck ships authorized to operate an EIDWS program.
The Navy established the EIDWS program Feb. 19, 2010, with a goal to provide a common link among the IDC communities and institute a rigorous qualification program to identify highly qualified and diversified information dominance professionals.
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 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.