Navy's First Hybrid Ship Celebrates
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Corwin Colbert.
San Diego, California — (NNS) —
October 27, 2015 — The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) celebrated her sixth
commissioning anniversary, Oct. 24. The ship was formally commissioned in 2009
aboard Naval Air Station North Island.
Makin Island (LHD 8) returns to homeport at Naval Base San Diego
Although Makin Island is the eighth and last Wasp-class amphibious assault ship,
she was the first built with gas turbines and an electric drive auxiliary
With this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects to see fuel savings of more
than $250 million over the course of the ship's life cycle - a testament to the
Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
Makin Island embarks, transports, and deploys more than 3,500 Sailors and
Marines. The ship can accommodate three landing craft air cushion, an AV-8B
Harrier II aircraft squadron, and a full range of Navy and Marine Corps
helicopters and amphibious vehicles, to perform sea control and limited
During her first two deployments, the ship saved more than six million gallons
of fuel, resulting in an estimated cost savings in excess of $22 million. She
served as the platform for the first operational deployment of the four-blade
AH-1Z Viper helicopter. The ship is planned to be Joint Strike Fighter capable
Makin Island's most recent deployment included transiting nearly 35,000 nautical
miles over 115 consecutive days at-sea to conduct air strikes in the 5th Fleet
area of operations. The ship participated in Exercise Red Reef 15 with Saudi
Arabian forces, and performed Marine sustainment exercises in Kuwait and
Makin Island is named for the daring raid carried out by Marine Corps Companies
Alpha and Bravo, Second Raider Battalion, on the Japanese-held Makin Island, in
the Gilbert Islands, on Aug. 17-18, 1942.
The raid was launched from the submarines USS Nautilus and USS Argonaut, and
succeeded in routing the enemy forces based there, gaining valuable
Twenty-three Navy Crosses were awarded for actions during the raid, including to
the raid's leader, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Evans Carlson, and executive officer
Marine Corps Maj. James Roosevelt, son of President Franklin Roosevelt. Marine
Corps Sgt. Clyde Thomason was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for
heroism during the raid and was the first enlisted Marine to be so honored
during World War II.
One previous ship, a Casablanca-class escort aircraft carrier (1944-1946), has
borne the name Makin Island, and received five battle stars for World War II
Makin Island is in the home stretch of a phased maintenance availability at
Naval Base San Diego and will soon commence basic phase training in preparation
for the ship's third deployment in late 2016.
For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit