USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Makin Island Sailors Take Part in Student Incentive Program at Local Elementary School
By Seaman Matthew J. Hill, USS Makin Island Public Affairs
SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) participated in a special student incentive program at Willow Elementary School in San Ysidro, Calif., Jan. 25, as part of the ship's community outreach program.

A group of 12 Makin Island Sailors visited the classrooms of the school's 6th - 8th graders to review the academic progress binders of students and provide each individual with counseling and mentorship.

"The idea behind the binders is to show the students that there is someone who is interested in their performance," said Manuel Bojorquez, Willow Elementary School principal.

Bojorquez said the program is designed to motivate students to succeed and that the Sailors served as positive role models for the students while showing the students examples of career-oriented professionals.

"The partnership between the Navy and the school district gives Sailors an opportunity to do good and also opens the doors for others, staff and students to follow that example," said Bojorquez.

According to Bojorquez, Makin Island Sailors will return twice a month to check student binders. The Sailors will also be involved in a reading program to encourage the students to read.

Makin Island Sailors said that they enjoyed participating in the program and encouraging the students to excel in school. Some Sailors said they also benefited from participating in the program.

"In helping these young people, we also teach them about Navy core values," said Logistics Specialist 3rd class Danni Li. "We get to teach them about doing the right thing, while learning something about that, ourselves. It is a win-win."

Li said that she looks forward to going back to the school again and that helping others and learning through community outreach is a big part of what it means to be in the Navy.

Willow Elementary is one of local schools that benefit from Makin Island's community outreach program. Makin Island volunteers also work closely with the Oak Park Elementary School and Music Conservatory in the city of San Diego

Leadership at all levels on board Makin Island works to inspire Sailors to strive for excellence and continuous improvement. The ship's commitment to schools in the local area, as well as other initiatives that seek to improve people's lives, is a key component of the command philosophy.

Makin Island recently returned from a seven-month deployment and was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship's lifecycle. Lessons learned during Makin Island's maiden deployment prove the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's 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.

The ship is currently undergoing a planned maintenance availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this seven month PMA period, Makin Island will receive numerous equipment upgrades, modernization, and general repairs. The PMA period will also ensure the ship will reach the full service life of at least 40 years.
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