USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea
- Christmas may have came a few weeks early this year for Sailors and Marines assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) when the ship received more than 6,700 lbs of holiday mail during a brief port visit to Singapore, Dec 12.
The mail was carried aboard when the ship stopped at Changi Naval Base for a few hours to offload Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to participate in theater security cooperation events in Singapore and Malaysia.
Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Roger Poole, Makin Island's post office supervisor, said he helped coordinate the massive mail-moving evolution followed by a traditional "mail call" with help from dozens of smiling Sailors and Marines.
"It's a true honor to be the link between our Sailors and Marines and the thousands of loved ones waiting at home for them to return," said Poole.
Poole added that despite the longer hours for postal workers around the holiday season, he is proud to help deliver so many packages to his shipmates.
Divisional mail orderlies sorted through the mail pouches and boxes to make sure each package ended up going to the correct department and division, many anxious to find their own care packages from home.
"It shows we have people who care about us, and what we're out here doing," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) Airman Nicholas Norton, one of Sailors who helped sort through the piles of mail and hundreds of care packages.
"I think it's a great incentive to see that our loved ones are thinking about us and that they support us," added Norton.
Makin Island and the 11th MEU departed San Diego Nov. 14 and are currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), supporting the Navy's maritime strategy.
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.
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."
The 7th Fleet AOR includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.
More than half of the world's population lives within the 7th Fleet AOR. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the oceans, which means this is an inherently maritime region.