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Story Number: NNS080307-28
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiffani Paredes, Pre-Commissioning Detachment Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS)
-- Precommissioning detachment (PCD) Makin Island (LHD 8) Sailors completed Damage Control (DC) Academy Feb. 29, better preparing them for ship's scheduled delivery in November.

As the ship nears completion in Pascagoula, Miss., Sailors will continue to complete qualifications in San Diego before transferring to the Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) in Miss., where they will take ownership of the amphibious assault ship.

Makin Island's Training Officer, Lt. Damian Viltz said San Diego is ideal for this training because the area's variety of educational resources teaches the skills necessary to run the Navy's newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.

"Everyone goes to those schools, from the captain to the newest firefighter," said Viltz.

Access to the San Diego waterfront is also a major benefit for PCD' Sailors, who when not in school, have the opportunity to get underway with ships to gain shipboard experience they can bring to Makin Island when they transfer.

"For my job and a couple others, we can't do them unless we're out to sea. So, getting back in there is the bread and butter." said Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Dennisha Mcelveen, who attended the latest DC Academy. "I like the fact that ships on the waterfront are cooperative with letting us ship ride. I've gone out five times, so I appreciate those ships understanding the situation we're in."

In the months ahead, Makin Island's training representatives will consider the expected influx of new crewmembers when scheduling schools. Ship familiarization will also be added to the training program, which will be provided by instructors from Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGS), the company building Makin Island.

"When we get to the unit, we can't be unprepared," said Mcelveen, "Because once we're on the ship, and we get ready to leave, that's it. You have to be sufficient in your qualifications and have some kind of grasp on it."

Following commissioning, Makin Island will be homeported in San Diego. Sailors, who are in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders and want to be part of the Pre-Commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and ask to be released to the Pre-Commissioning detailer for further assignment to Makin Island. Makin Island currently has one-third of its 1,100-person crew.

For more news from Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island, visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.

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