USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
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Story Number: NNS070215-20
By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Heather W. Hines, Makin Island Public Affairs

-- Crew members from Pre-Commissioning Units (PCU) Makin Island (LHD 8) and Mesa Verde (LPD 19) wrapped up the first Pascagoula Surface Line Week (SLW) competition Feb. 9.

The week of events matched the two amphibious ships against each other for the honor of ‘Top Gator.’

In the professional events, participants competed in cable building with soldering, combat systems operational sequence system and engineering operational sequence system, a damage control (DC) marathon, DC and rules of the road exams, a chili cook-off, and general ship safety.

The athletic events included basketball, bowling, flag football, golf, Naval surface fire support water balloons, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, a five-kilometer fun run, and a physical readiness test (PRT) competition to test Sailors on push-ups, sit-ups, and the 1.5 mile run.

Both ships are under construction in Pascagoula, Miss., and events were spread throughout the area, including a community golf course, bowling lanes and gymnasiums.

“The event coordinators did a terrific job finding resources and scheduling events in which we could compete,” said the SLW Coordinator, Lt. Tony Tharpe. “With our ship due to deliver to the fleet in May 2008 and Mesa Verde in summer 2007, the production and training schedules are really hectic at this time. I feel this [SLW] was a good way for the Sailors to exhibit their talents in a competitive way while having fun and taking a little of the edge off.”

Capt. Bob Kopas, commanding officer of Makin Island, presented the first place award to the winning command, Team Makin Island.

“It gives me great honor to present this award to Team Makin Island for an outstanding job this week in the surface line competition,” Kopas said. “This [award] epitomizes the professionalism, camaraderie, and competitive spirit of both ship’s crew members. Additionally, this competition has helped us refine our skills for our main missions -- bringing Makin Island and Mesa Verde successfully to life.”

The winners for the individual categories were as follows:
Professional Event/Exams
General Ship Safety: Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW/AW) Shawn Loescher, Makin Island
Cable Building/ Soldering: Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Shawn Brody, Mesa Verde
Chili Cook-off: Lt. Paul Oden, Makin Island
CSOSS/EOSS: Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Robert Brown, Makin Island
DC Marathon: Mesa Verde
Maneuvering Boards: Makin Island
Rules of the Road: Ensign Matt Buhn, Makin Island
Damage Control Test: Lt. Paul Colston, Makin Island

Athletic Events
5K Run: Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Justin Carp, Mesa Verde
Basketball: Mesa Verde
Bowling: Mesa Verde
Golf: Makin Island
Football: Mesa Verde
PRT: Mesa Verde
Soccer: Makin Island
Softball: Makin Island
Tennis: Lt. Fred Crawford, Makin Island
Tricycle Race: Makin Island
NSFS Water Balloons: Makin Island

For related news, visit the PCU Makin Island (LHD 8) Navy NewsStand page at

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