SAN DIEGO – The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was named the recipient of the prestigious 2012 Vice Admiral Bulkeley Award for afloat safety, May 9.
The Bulkeley Award recognizes the afloat command that has contributed the most toward afloat safety awareness through the submission of hazard, near-mishap, and lessons-learned reports in addition to safety-related articles for publication.
Additionally, Lt. Harriet Johnson, the ship’s safety officer, was awarded the 2012 Rear Admiral Buie Award which recognizes the individual who has contributed the most toward afloat safety awareness through the submission of hazard, near mishap, and lessons-learned reports in addition to safety-related articles for publication.
Rear Adm. Kenneth J. Norton, the commander of the Naval Safety Center, made the official announcement for both to the fleet via naval message traffic.
“Makin Island’ commitment to safety reaches beyond the lifelines,” Norton stated in the message. “Ship’s authors have had articles published in the spring-summer and fall-winter editions of the afloat Navy’s ‘Sea Compass’ magazine.”
In the message, Norton recognized Makin Island’s efforts to reduce drunk and distracted driving during the holiday season by staging a wrecked automobile at the end of the pier as a visual reminder to Sailors.
“As the ship’s safety officer, Lt. Johnson was the driving force behind the ship’s overwhelming success in safety,” said Norton. “She created two 30-minute training, three skits and six posters as the cornerstone of a 14-faceted approach to advertise safety on board the ship.”
Norton also recognized the ship’s Health and Wellness Fair as a way to promote healthy lifestyle choices for the officers and crew.
This is the second major safety award for Makin Island. Earlier this year, the ship and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were named the recipients of the 2012 Admiral Flatley Memorial Award for aviation safety aboard LHA/LHD class ships.
Makin Island, along with the embarked 11th MEU, spent the first half of 2012 underway on the ship’s maiden deployment conducting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. Later in the year, the ship supported routine training operations off the coast of Southern California and participated in “Fleet Week” activities in both San Diego and San Francisco.
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 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 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.