Makin Island Continues At-Sea Qualifications

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) continued conducting sea qualifications, Feb. 3-7 in preparation for the ship's upcoming scheduled deployment.

During the five-day underway period, Makin Island crew members completed Damage Control (DC) drills, weapons certifications, day and night flight operations, and Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS).

"We train the crew as a cohesive unit to be prepared for any threat that may arise," said Ensign Liam Kearney, Operations Division Officer. "We did many damage control training evolutions from fires to flooding so that our personnel in repair lockers are ready."

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Damage Control training is an all hands effort and getting new Sailors engaged in drills helps prepare the ship for mission readiness.

"We worked with the Damage Control Training Team and the Engineering Training Team to run many drills and I learned a lot," said Damage Control Fireman Josie McCullough. "Training is essential because all crewmembers need to know what to do in case a real situation occurs."

Weapons certifications were achieved by Makin Island Sailors out to sea on 50-caliber crew serve weapons and close in weapons system (CIWS).

"During this underway we certified and qualified 24 small craft action team (SCAT) members," said Gunners Mate 2nd Class Jessica Alcantar. "This prepares our team for real life scenarios as we prepare to transit into unknown waters."

Flight operations are also an essential part of Makin Island's mission. The joint services of Sailors and Marines working together safely and effectively continues to hone the skills of both the aircrew and flight deck personnel.

"We had AV-8B Harriers and [Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Three] helicopters taking off and landing," said Aviation Boatswains Mate Handling 1st Class David Dysart, the Flight Deck Leading Petty Officer. "The training has been exceptional and everyone from the pilots to personnel on the flight deck are working together as a team to meet the mission."

Deck department Sailors took part in evolutions that they wouldn't be able to conduct in port such as anchor operations and small boat operations.

"This underway helped qualify our Sailors in our rate," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Nicholas Manantan. "We now have more personnel qualified to stand bridge watches and help support necessary evolutions."

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. The ship's hybrid-electric propulsion system is designed to run on auxiliary propulsion motors at low speeds and on gas turbines at higher speeds.

This technology allows the Department of the Navy to reduce the use of fossil fuels that leads to reduced carbon emissions and cleaner air. 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.

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ethan Tracey, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

Source: US Navy
Date: Feb 10, 2014