USS Makin Island
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Congressional Black Caucus Tours Makin Island

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) hosted nearly 40 members and representatives of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Nov. 6.

Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Kopas greeted the group on the pier and spoke about the ship's unique qualities, including its gas turbine engines. Afterward, CBC members were brought on board and divided into smaller groups to tour the ship.

"I think it's a great chance for us to show the taxpayers the Navy's first hybrid warship," said Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Combat (C5) Officer Cmdr. Marc Schweighofer, who led one of the tour groups. "It's a good opportunity to let them know their money was spent wisely. It's also a good chance to showcase our Sailors and their role. If you noticed, as a tour guide I was mostly there to show them along. The junior Sailors along the route were there to explain what it is they do to make the ship run."

Visitors toured several spaces including medical, the gym, flight deck, hangar bay, well deck and mess decks.

"I think it's amazing," said Dwana Franklin-Davis, who toured the ship with her husband, Executive Council Member of the CBC, Morry Davis. "It's like this is its own self contained city. It's good to see everyone is taken care of," said Franklin-Davis. "We also noticed how clean it is, it shows how much pride the crew has in its ship."

"This has been remarkable, I am personally fascinated with this ship and the equipment on board," said Davis. "It is advanced far beyond anything I would have expected."

The tour concluded with a visit to the ship's store for an opportunity to purchase souvenirs.

"It went very well, we got a lot of questions from our guests and they seemed to enjoy themselves," said Schweighofer.

The CBC formed in 1969 when the 13 black members of the U.S. House of Representatives decided to band together to better address the issues of black and minority citizens. There are now 41 members of the CBC who work together to address the concerns of citizens throughout the nation.

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