SAN DIEGO - The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was named a recipient of the 2012 Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award, March 9, marking the first time the ship has received the prestigious award.
Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman, the commander of Naval Surface Forces, and commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, made the official announcement via naval message traffic.
The Battle "E" is the Navy's top performance award presented only to the ships that achieve the highest standards of performance readiness and efficiency.
Award criteria is designed to measure and recognize a command's sustained superior performance and battle efficiency in an operational environment throughout the competition calendar year.
Makin Island spent the first half of 2012 deployed to U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. Following deployment, the ship maintained a steady operational tempo with underway periods in support of Marine Air Wing aviation operations, San Francisco Fleet Week and midshipmen training periods.
Ships competing for the Battle "E" are evaluated and graded in five specific areas: maritime warfare; engineering and survivability; command, control, communications and information warfare; logistics management, and ship safety. Makin Island received command excellence awards in all five categories for 2012.
"It's an honor for our team to receive this kind of recognition," said Capt. Cedric E. Pringle, Makin Island's commanding officer. "The Battle 'E' award is a result of the hard work of everyone on board. It validates our focus on continuous improvement across the entire spectrum of warfare readiness. This award will also strengthen our commitment to excellence in all that we do."
Every Makin Island Sailor who was a member of the crew during 2012 is now eligible to wear the Battle "E" ribbon on their uniform. Any Makin Island Sailor who already has a Battle "E" award from a previous command can now add an additional "E" device to the ribbon.
The Navy Battle "E" program and accompanying ribbon was established July 1, 1974, by then-Secretary of the Navy J. William Middendorf in order to recognize ships and aviation squadrons who are the best in the fleet in all areas of battle readiness.
Makin Island returned from a seven-month deployment June 22, making history as 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.
The ship is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this seven 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.