USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS090609-09 

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin L. Webb, Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island Public Affairs

-- Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Makin Island (LHD 8) completed another major milestone in its quest toward joining the fleet June 4 -- with a light-off assessment.

The ship and her crew successfully finished its first light-off assessment (LOA), a weeklong inspection by Afloat Training Group (ATG) Pacific, which ensured Makin Island could run all engineering systems and programs effectively.

Several crew members aboard Makin Island have spent the last couple of years preparing for this crucial inspection on her first-of-a-kind gas turbine-electric hybrid propulsion system.

"What this crew had to go through was exceptionally arduous," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Rottnek, Main Propulsion assistant. "For over three years we had to develop administrative programs from scratch and then develop them operationally. This included developing PMS [Planned Maintenance Systems] and PQS [Personal Qualification Standards] from four classes of ships."

Engineering Department has been credited for Makin Island's success in passing the inspection, without which, the ship could not be certified to get underway, but it truly was a crew-wide event.

"The crew's really stepped up and helped us out," said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jordan Bailey of Repair Division. "Engineering, you know, we've seen our hard days, been working some long hours, some tough work, but we're getting through. And I think we did really well on this inspection."

According to the ATG senior engineering assessor's report, Makin Island was well prepared for the assessment.

"The support provided by ship's force, SUPSHIP [Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Gulf Coast] and Northrop Grumman enabled timely correction of deficiencies. The entire Makin Island team deserves credit for having this first-of-its-kind platform ready to light off. Space cleanliness was above average for new-construction ships. The crew was motivated, and had obviously taken ownership of their spaces and equipment," the report stated.

Makin Island must undergo two additional major inspections prior to sail-away in July. The first is a unit level training assessment anti-terrorism/force protection (ATFP) certification. Then, the ship will undergo crew certification, a process in which evaluators focus on the capability of the entire crew to operate the ship in an underway environment.

The crew is now working and living aboard the ship, while preparing for sail-away, when Makin Island will deploy around South America to her future homeport of San Diego, where she is scheduled to be commissioned on Oct. 24.

For more news from Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island, visit
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