GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 26, 2014) – While deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) held a change of command ceremony at sea, Dec. 26.
Capt. Jon P. Rodgers relieved Capt. Alvin Holsey as commanding officer of Makin Island. Rodgers becomes the ship’s fifth commanding officer since the ship’s commissioning in 2009.
“I'm honored to command USS Makin Island and all who sail in this warship,” said Rodgers. “The awesome performance of this ship and crew during this deployment is a testament to the combined talents of our Sailors and Marines. I look forward to commanding such an awesome crew as we sail alongside our Marine shipmates.”
Capt. Stephen McKone, commander, Amphibious Squadron Five, gave his thoughts on the ceremony.
“As we witness today’s change of command, we are given the opportunity to commemorate both the achievements those who have served aboard this ship have already accomplished as well as those to come,” said McKone.
During Holsey’s tenure, Makin Island completed a 14-month Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA). The ship received various PMA related repairs and upgrades including maintenance to the ship’s flight deck and propulsion system and upgrades to the ship’s communications systems. Upon completion of the ship’s PMA, Makin Island successfully executed sea trials and a condensed work-up cycle. Makin Island and the crew are currently serving on the ship’s second deployment.
“To the core of Team Raider, the troops. Goals, strength, and determination. Your determination to excel is truly inspiring,” said Holsey. “For the young folks just starting out, you are what you aspire to be and not what you are now. You are what you do with your youth, you are what you do with your mind.”
Rodgers, a native of Humboldt, Tennessee, received his commission as a surface warfare officer upon graduation from Cornell University in 1990. He attended the National Defense University, graduating with honors from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces with a Masters of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy. He attended the Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island with a Masters of Arts in National Security Strategy. He also graduated from the Defense Acquisition University where he participated in the Shipbuilding Industry Study. He studied shipbuilding processes and Government-Industry relations in over 30 domestic and foreign shipyards.
Rodgers’ sea duty assignments include USS England (CG22), USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Amphibious Squadron THREE staff, USS Cleveland (LPD 7), and most recently, USS Ponce (AFSB 15) where he served as commanding officer.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.