Makin Island's 'Women at Sea' Program Supports San Diego Rescue Mission 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Princess Brown, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
SAN DIEGO - A group of female Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) dedicated several hours of their personal time to support the San Diego Rescue Mission warehouse in San Diego, May 30.

More than 30 members of the ship's "Women at Sea" program from the ship and embarked Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 staff helped to sort donated items at the facility.

"Today we helped out the San Diego Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization that helps recovering drug and alcohol addicts get back on their feet," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Amanie Roberts, assigned to Makin Island's Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Combat Systems (C5) department.

The Rescue Mission operates three thrift store locations in San Diego and receives more than two truckloads of donated items everyday. Donated items typically include clothing, furniture, household items and food from the San Diego community.

"Surprisingly the quality of the items that were donated was very good," said Roberts. "People took the time to wash and fold items and properly package them which made our job a little easier. I think we sorted way more good than bad stuff, very few items went to waste."

During their time at the facility, the group successfully sorted and organized a large amount of donations, greatly helping the regular warehouse staff.

"There were a lot of belongings that needed to be separated and our efforts helped speed up he distribution of items to the other two thrift stores," said Roberts. "We helped expedite the process of sorting which is beneficial to the entire San Diego community. We did a lot of good work."

This was the first community relations project that volunteers from the ship's "Women at Sea" program have participated in as an organization.

"We had a very good turnout for volunteers," said Roberts. "There were a lot of women of different races, ethnicity, and rank and everyone worked together as a team and enjoyed helping out."

Roberts said the "Women at Sea" program was created to help empower, uplift and encourage women serving aboard the Makin Island. The program is open to male members and they are encouraged to get involved.

"We still have ground to break as women, empowering each other will help us reach our goals," said Roberts "Hopefully one day soon we will have a female MCPON [Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy]. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it."

Other Sailors who volunteered said they also enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the community.

"We sorted clothes and helped pick out items that would be useful to families and people in need," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Shaquita Sims, assigned to PHIBRON 5. "This warehouse gives people the opportunity to have clothes and different household products that they would not be able to afford or be able to purchase at a more suitable price."

Leadership at all levels on board Makin Island works to inspire Sailors to strive for excellence and continuous improvement while helping others. The ship's commitment to supporting initiatives that seek to improve people's lives is a key component of the command philosophy.

Makin Island 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 life cycle. 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.

The ship is currently undergoing a Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this ten-month PMA period, Makin Island will receive numerous equipment upgrades, modernization, and general repairs. The PMA period will also help to ensure the ship will reach the full service life of at least 40 years.
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