USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea
–- The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) departed historic Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Nov. 23 following a two-day port visit.
The Hawaii port visit was the first stop for Makin Island, which departed its homeport of San Diego Nov. 14 for a regularly scheduled deployment in support of the Navy’s Maritime Strategy.
During the port visit, more than 2,000 Sailors and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) took part in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored tours, sporting events and cultural awareness programs.
Kristen Venoy, Makin Island’s MWR “Fun Boss,” said she hoped all Makin Island Sailors and Marines had a memorable stop in Hawaii, despite the short length of the port visit.
“Everyone needs a little down time, and time to enjoy hanging out with friends and experiencing new things,” said Venoy. “Overall, I would say Hawaii was a hit!”
Venoy said the two most popular MWR-sponsored trips were a snorkeling adventure and a chance to attend an authentic Hawaiian luau.
“I will always incorporate a city tour, or some sort of cultural tour at each of our port visits, because I think it is important for us to appreciate other cultures outside of our own,” said Venoy.
During the port visit, Several Makin Island Sailors and Marines also participated in a community relations project at a local elementary school.
Capt. Jim Landers, Makin Island’s commanding officer, said he was pleased that so many Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to “Live Aloha”, even if for only 2 days.
"Pearl Harbor was the first port visit outside the continental United States for the crew since the ship’s commissioning Oct. 14, 2009," said Landers. “’Mahalo’ to the people of Oahu, and especially to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, for their superior service and support."
Makin Island, the Navy’s newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary Ray Mabus' 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.
Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is named in honor of the World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, 2nd Raider Battalion on Japanese occupied Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name "USS Makin Island."