By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Princess Brown, USS Makin Island Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Three Sailors assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) were among the 85 Navy personnel honored during the 2012 San Diego Fleet Week Enlisted Recognition Luncheon at Sea World in San Diego, Sept. 11.
Navy Career Counselor 2nd Class Luis Maldonado, Makin Island's current Sailor of the Quarter; Aviation Support Equipment Technician 3rd Class Beverly Garduque, Makin Island's current Junior Sailor of the Quarter; and Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Angela Rushworth, Makin Island's current Bluejacket of the Quarter, took part in a special ceremony and meal at the park's Nautilus Pavilion.
The annual event, a highlight of San Diego Fleet Week activities, pays tribute to enlisted men and women from local commands that have distinguished themselves amongst their peers.
"When I found out I was selected to attend the luncheon I felt proud of myself, not only myself but of my chain of command, because my selection was a ... reflection of my leadership," said Maldonado.
Maldonado said that he appreciated being recognized by the local community during San Diego Fleet Week.
"Events like the enlisted recognition luncheon are key in maintaining morale within the military," said Maldonado. "It gives service members the chance to see how much they are supported and to highlight the reasons they serve."
Members of the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation, Sea World staff and other invited guests said they enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the local Sailors.
"In today's audience were many of our men and women in service that are being honored during fleet week," said Anthony Flores, the senior sales manager for Sea World San Diego. "There was something special that got them invited to this luncheon, because there were only so many here today and there are many, many fantastic men and women that serve."
In addition to being recognized for their military performance, service members who attended the luncheon also had the opportunity to take home door prizes, take part in a trivia contest and receive free t-shirts.
Dozens of San Diego Fleet Week events, sponsored by the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation, are scheduled from Sept. 8 to Oct. 14 this year.
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.