USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS080328-20

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alec Noe, Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island Public Affairs

-- Seven Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Makin Island (LHD 8) information systems technicians (IT), attached to the ships pre-commissioning detachment (PCD) in San Diego, graduated from "A" school March 14, at the Center for Information Dominance in Pensacola.

Information Systems Technician Seaman Tristan Parayno, Information Systems Technician Seaman Aaron Williams, Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Jennifer Lamprecht, Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Geoffrey Machin, Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Al Pittman, Information Systems Technician Seaman Apprentice Nathan Russell and Information Systems Technician Seaman Recruit Jeffrey Stevenson completed a 77-day course that taught the Sailors about computer hardware, basic networking and radio frequency communications.

Master Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/AW) Kurt Jefferson, PCU Makin Island's combat systems leading chief petty officer, attended the graduation ceremony to present his newest Sailors with command ball caps and to answer any questions they may have had regarding Makin Island, what to expect and permanent change of station.

"With the uniqueness of pre-commissioning duty and the majority of my Sailors fresh out of high school, I wanted to provide them with a command overview and answer all the questions they may have had," said Jefferson. "Most importantly, I wanted to welcome my shipmates on board the Navy's finest gator, establish my leadership commitment to them and present their first command ball cap."

This was the first time an LCPO has personally attended an IT "A" school graduation to speak with their prospective Sailors since July 2006, when the school moved to Pensacola. While the graduating Sailors were not aware that Jefferson would attend their ceremony but had an idea something out of the ordinary was happening.

"I was really curious about what was going on. I heard a rumor in my class that someone special was going to show up," said Lamprecht.

ITs are responsible for designing, installing, operating and maintaining state-of-the-art information systems. Makin Island will have the most up-to-date automated communications suite afloat and will be able to process voice, video and data communications at nearly 10 megabytes per second at maximum capability.

Makin Island is currently being constructed at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., and is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy on Nov. 14. Makin Island is scheduled to be homeported in San Diego on spring 2009.

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