USS Makin Island Hosts 'Leaders to Sea' Program 
By Seaman Matthew J. Hill, USS Makin Island Public Affairs 
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea - A group of eight leaders in business and industry from the Southern California area got underway with the crew of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as part of the "Leaders to Sea" program, Oct. 23.

The Leaders to Sea program, sponsored by Commander, Naval Surface Forces, is designed to provide influential community leaders, educators, and business executives an opportunity to observe daily operations of Navy ships at sea.

This distinguished group of participants, which included chief executive officers (CEOs) and vice presidents of local businesses, was greeted by Makin Island's leadership team, just prior to the ship setting sea and anchor detail in preparation to depart the pier.

After receiving an initial safety and capabilities briefs, the group proceeded to observe the ship's outbound transit from Naval Base San Diego, which was followed by an anchorage near the Silver Strand and well-deck operations. Their time on board also included a tour of Makin Island's medical, gymnasium, ship's store and critical command and control spaces, such as the primary flight control tower.

"This was a great opportunity to see a warship in operation the way that it was intended to be - very intriguing," said Charles Gillespie, president and CEO of Semantic Research Inc. "If San Diegans got to see this, they would have an even better appreciation of how effectively leadership is transmitted from top to bottom."

Other participants in the Leaders to Sea program said they were impressed by how effectively and efficiently day-to-day operations run on the ship.

"This was an amazing opportunity to comprehend the complexities of naval operations," said Sonia Rhodes, CEO of Sonia Rhodes Experience Design. "I was interested to learn about how the ship was run from the leadership perspective."

The goal of the Leaders to Sea program is for participants to experience Navy life first-hand and develop a greater understanding of the various missions performed by the Navy on a daily basis. Participants are also encouraged to share their experiences with family, peers, co-workers, employees and other individuals in their respective influence areas.

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 more than $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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