USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Naval History and Heritage are Key Components of Makin Island’s CPO 365 Program
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie W. Ryan, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At Sea – First class petty officers serving aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) learned about naval history and heritage from the ship’s chief petty officers (CPO) mess May 10, during Phase II training of the Navy’s CPO 365 program.

In fact, naval history and heritage are part of each weekly CPO 365 session held aboard Makin Island and are specifically included in the training curriculum as a way to help first class petty officers develop a sense of heritage, one of the seven guiding principles of a CPO.

For the May 10 training session, first class petty officers learned about the history of USS Makin Island (CVE 93), the first ship named after the historic raid on Makin Atoll in 1942. While only in active service for two years, the Casablanca-class escort carrier won five battle stars during World War II and served as the flagship during the historic Battle of Iwo Jima.

“I feel it’s important to understand the history of the Sailors that came before us on the first USS Makin Island,” said Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Lill, who presented the history lesson to the first class petty officers during the CPO 365 program. “Like the crew of the first USS Makin Island during their maiden deployment, the Sailors and Marines embarked on this maiden deployment volunteered to potentially put themselves in harm’s way during an important time in our nation’s history.”

Lill said he felt the CPO 365 program was a great opportunity to help spread the history of the ship’s namesake.

“The current ship USS Makin Island is named in honor of the Marines of Col. [Evans] Carlson’s Raiders, but we have to note the achievement of the Sailors of CVE 93 Makin Island during one of the most trying times of our nations’ history,” said Lill. “Their ‘Gung Ho’ spirit and can-do attitude are keys to our current and future success.”

First class petty officers who attended the training said they enjoyed learning about the first ship to bear the name Makin Island.

“I believe that if everybody understood the history of the ship they are on it would instill deeper shipboard pride, and it might even encourage them to look deeper into military history,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Alan Higgins, an active participant in the CPO 365 program.”

Higgins said he feels the training offered during CPO 365 will help encourage Sailors to learn more about the history of the Navy.

“Sitting on ESWS [Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist] boards, I watch people miss questions about the meaning of things on the ships crest and that really disappointed me,” said Higgins.

Higgins said he thinks a Sailor’s knowledge on naval history and heritage needs to start with their current ship.

“For the junior Sailors, it gives them a sense of pride to be a part of the Navy and truly understand what is means to ‘Represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those that have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world’,” said Higgins.

Information Systems Technician 1st Anthony Campo, who describes himself as a history buff, said he is also enjoying the naval history and heritage lessons offered during the CPO 365 program and knows its importance.

“It’s important because the Navy is founded off of traditions,” said Campo. “It is our duty to have knowledge of the attributes and accomplishments of our forefathers so we can carry on those traditions. We make history every day.”

Campo said he realizes the importance of knowing naval history and said if he is selected for chief petty officer, he will include naval history and heritage training alongside muster, instruction and inspection as part of morning quarters for his division.

The CPO 365 program, established by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West, is a three-phase training process designed to help instill leadership skills to first class petty officers throughout the year.

Like the rest of the Navy, Makin Island’s CPO 365 program is currently in Phase II, which began in March after the list of FY-13 CPO selection board eligible personnel was announced. Phase II is scheduled to continue throughout the current deployment and well after the ship’s return to homeport.

Phase III of CPO 365, also known as the CPO induction process, is reserved for first class petty officers who have been selected to become chiefs and begins with the release of the selection message. This phase is expected to start in August and run through mid-September.

Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.

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.

Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
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