USS Makin Island (lhd8) 

(Official U.S. Navy Photo)
USS Makin Island Expands EIDWS Training and Qualification on the Waterfront 
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Princess L. Brown, USS Makin Island Public Affairs  
SAN DIEGO - The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) assists San Diego amphibious ships with establishing Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) Programs.

With assistance from Makin Island, USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and USS America (LHA 6) are currently working towards becoming IDW certified.

"Currently we are assisting the USS Anchorage and USS America with both of their programs," said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (SW/IDW) Martin Healey, Makin Island EIDWS program coordinator.

With extensive training from Makin Island's EIDWS subject matter experts (SME), Anchorage Sailors were able to qualify in information dominance warfare. Two chief petty officers assigned to the USS Anchorage recently received their EIDWS qualification from the Makin Island.

"I coordinated with Master Chief Intelligence Specialist (SW/IDW/AW) Cris Galvez, Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class (SW/IDW/AW) Rhodelia Turner, Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/IDW) Alexandria Florez, and Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (SW/IDW/AW) Emelita Bertalan to meet up on duty days, after work hours and weekends to go over training and signatures," stated Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (SW/IDW/SS) Ryan Steve Astle, assigned to Anchorage. "It was a long process outside of work, but well worth it."

Astle and Master Chief Information Systems Technician John Walker have been established as baseline qualifiers and are now in the developing stages for Anchorage's EIDWS program, said Astle.

Navy Cyber Forces Command must approve the personnel qualification standards and the questions associated with boards to certify a commands program.

Makin Island became the first West Coast "Large Deck" authorized to operate an afloat EIDWS program and award the EIDWS pin to personnel following final certification by Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (SW/IDW/EXW) Jacob C. Wilson, assigned to America, has been working with Healey to begin the process of developing an EIDWS program onboard America upon commissioning.

"The USS America is in the infant stages as they try to get everything going in Mississippi with their pre-com ship," said Healey.

Healey has provided Wilson with a layout of Makin Island's EIDWS program which included templates for designations letters, PG-13's, training presentations and supporting documentation, according to Wilson.

"I have sent him every piece of paperwork that we used to start our program and email correspondence between us and Fleet Cyber Command to help with a smoother process," stated Healey.

Makin Island, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 76), USS Wasp (LHD 1), and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) are the only large deck ships authorized to operate afloat EIDWS programs.

Since the program began, Makin Island has qualified 31 Sailors.

"We expect to qualify a lot more during deployment," said Healey "All of our Sailors have to get there Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification first, so it takes time for them get to the EIDWS."

Established Feb. 19, 2010, the goal of the Navy's EIDWS program is to provide a common link among the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) communities and institute a rigorous qualification program to identify highly qualified and diversified information dominance professionals.

"Attainment of EIDWS designation signifies that an eligible Sailor has achieved a level of excellence and proficiency in Information Dominance," said Wilson. "Additionally, the EIDWS insignia signifies the Sailor is competent in his or her rating and has acquired additional general knowledge to enhance his or her understanding of the role of the IDC as it pertains to warfighting, mission effectiveness, and command survivability."

Makin Island's enlisted EIDWS program, like all afloat EIDWS programs, is only open to information dominance community ratings of aerographer's mate, cryptologic technician, information systems technician and intelligence specialist.

Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is the Navy's newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship capable of utilizing surface and air assets to move Marine forces ashore. The ship is named in honor of the daring World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion, on Japanese held Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."

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