Makin Island Sailors and Marines Visit Children's Hospital Ward during San Francisco Fleet Week 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Princess Brown, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs  
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sixteen Sailors and Marines from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with a few Coast Guardsmen from the high endurance cutter Sherman (WHEC 720), visited the children's ward at San Francisco General Hospital, Oct. 5, as part of the 31st annual San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) celebration.

The group, sharply dressed in their military service uniforms, was able to meet and interact with dozens of patients from the children's ward as well as other clinics at the hospital during the visit.

Many of the younger patients were given books and presented command coins from the service members. Service members also took photos with the patients and staff members at the hospital.

"It was nice to visit San Francisco General," said Capt. Joe F. Hester, Sherman's commanding officer, who attended the event alongside his crew and the Makin Island Sailors and Marines. "We all know it's not a place you like to be, but it was a chance to go see some folks who probably will not be able to come out to Fleet Week."

Hospital administrators said they welcomed the opportunity for Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to visit as part of SSFW.

"It was such a treat for us as staff, and also for the patients, to see the men and women of the military who protect us", said Shonul Jayn, acting medical director of the children's health center at San Francisco General Hospital. "It's really nice to be give our thanks face-to-face and show our appreciation for everything that they do, and the sacrifices they make."

Makin Island Sailors and Marines who attended the event said they enjoyed the opportunity to bring the Navy to the hospital during SSFW.

"It was my first time in a pediatric ward, but it was fun seeing babies", said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Fireman Ruenna Sales, assigned to Makin Island's engineering department. "It was a unique experience to see what they go through at such a young age."

The SSFW 2012 runs from, Oct. 3 - 8, and will bring more than 2,500 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from four ships to the city of San Francisco in order to highlight the personnel, technology and capabilities of the sea services.

In addition to Makin Island, other U.S. Navy ships taking part in SSFW 2012 include the guided missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Spruance (DDG 111).

Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.

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 our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

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