Navy to Commission USS Makin Island
Focus on Defense:
NORTH ISLAND, Calif., Oct. 21, 2009 -- USS Makin Island (LHD 8) will be formally commissioned in a ceremony on Naval Air Station North Island Oct. 24.
The ship, which has been dubbed the "Prius of Navy warships," arrived in San Diego in mid-September, three years after her christening. The ship brought over 1,000 sailors and their families to the San Diego community.
"I am eager for Makin Island to finally join the fleet," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "The sailors of this crew exemplify the best this nation has to offer. They represent America's Navy with pride and distinction and proudly serve as part of a global force for good."
Makin Island is the final amphibious assault ship built in the LHD-1 Wasp-class, but is the first of the class built with gas turbine engines and electric drive.
The Navy projects that this advance will save nearly $250 million in fuel costs over the ship's lifetime. The development is already paying off – during the ships transit from Pascagoula, Miss., to San Diego, Makin Island consumed over 900,000 gallons less fuel than a steam ship completing the same transit, saving more than $2 million in fuel costs.
Other environmentally-friendly initiatives include the use of an electric plant to power auxiliaries, meaning no steam or associated chemicals; and the use of reverse osmosis water purification systems that negate the need for chemicals like bromine or chlorine.
"The USS Makin Island represents the centerpiece and future of naval expeditionary warfare and will significantly enhance our ability to rapidly respond to emergent tasking around the world," said Rear Adm. Earl Gay, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 3. "Her commissioning is a watershed moment for our Navy-Marine Corps team, and I am honored to have her in the fleet."
According to Capt. Bob Kopas, commanding officer, the true strength of Makin Island rests in her crew.
"This crew brings a 'gung ho' attitude of teamwork and determined enthusiasm to the fleet, in the tradition of Carlson's Raiders, who originated the term 'gung ho'," said Kopas. "The dedication they have shown over the past four years has brought the ship to life and lays the foundation for Makin Island to face the challenges of the next 40-plus years of supporting the needs of our nation and Navy."
(Report from a Surface Forces Public Affairs news release.)