Makin Island Sailors and Marines Help Paint Pearl City Elementary School 
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) David P. McKee, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
PEARL CITY, Hawaii - Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) helped to paint Pearl City Elementary School in Pearl City, Hawaii Nov. 22, during a two-day port visit to Hawaii.

The visit was the first stop for the ship, which departed its homeport of San Diego, Nov. 14, for a scheduled deployment in support of the nation's maritime strategy.

Lt. Jeffrey Perry, a chaplain aboard Makin Island, organized the community relations (COMREL) project.

"The children continually thanked us for the doing the work we did," said Perry. "As kids are naturally curious, they interacted with us, asked us questions, gave us high-fives, hugs, and great big smiles."

Perry said the experience at Pearl City Elementary School demonstrated why the Navy should keep doing community relations projects.

"We can make a difference, and in the process realize that we do play an important role in our communities and communities around the world outside of our regular jobs," said Perry.

Sailors and Marines who participated in the project said they enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference in the community.

Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Zhou Zhong, who has participated in five COMREL projects in the past, said helping others is a rewarding experience for any Sailor or Marine, as well as a benefit to the military's reputation as ambassadors of the United States.

"I encourage participation in COMRELs because it feels good to give my time to help others, and it's good for the reputation of the Navy in the eyes of the people in Hawaii," said Zhong.

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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