With the traditional reading of official orders, exchange of salutes and the words “I relieve you sir,” command of the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) was passed from one naval officer to another during a ceremony held aboard the ship at Naval Base San Diego, June 14.
During the ceremony, Capt. Alvin Holsey relieved Capt. Cedric E. Pringle as the commanding officer of Makin Island. Holsey becomes the ship’s fourth commanding officer since the ship’s commissioning in 2009.
“This a big day, each change of command commemorates and keeps alive the heritage of peaceful transfer of power,” said Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman III, the commander of Naval Surface Forces and commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, who served as the guest speaker for the event. “What everyone here is witnessing is the continuum of command from one commander as he relinquishes command to another.”
Copeman spoke of the many awards received by Makin Island during Pringle’s tour as commanding officer including the Battle Efficiency Award, Admiral Flatley Aviation Safety Award, Chief of Naval Operations Safety Award and numerous retention excellence and public affairs awards.
“You’ll look back and you’ll recall I think great fondness your days at sea,” Copeman told Pringle. “You’ll remember the good, and the good deeds that crew have done.”
During the ceremony, Copeman presented Pringle with the President’s Volunteer Service Award in recognition of the ship’s extensive community outreach program with two local schools. Pringle was also awarded the Legion of Merit during the ceremony.
“Back when I was a young ensign about 26 years ago over on USS Ranger (CV 61) dreaming about commanding a ship just like this, I never had this part in the dream, I never knew it would be this good,” said Pringle.
During his remarks, Pringle also recognized the contributions of the officers and chief petty officers to the command’s mission as well as the importance of each and every crew member aboard Makin Island. He also spoke highly of the ship’s record-setting enlisted advancement numbers.
“I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I’m truly humbled and amazed at the miracles I see on Makin Island every single day,” said Pringle. “Today I want to specifically focus on our Sailors and our Marines who maintain and operate this ship that deployed while executing every single mission successfully.”
Pringle’s next assignment will be as Director, Senate Liaison Office for the Chief of Legislative Affairs in Washington DC.
Prior to assuming command of Makin Island, Holsey had served as the ship’s executive officer for the past 16 months.
“To the men and women of Makin Island, affectionately know as ‘Team Raider’, I am honored to stand before you here today as your captain,” said Holsey.
Holsey also thanked his wife and other family members for their support throughout his career leading to his current command at sea position.
“Much has been written about leadership and command but my commitment to you is simple,” said Holsey. “I will give you everything I that have, and know that when the challenges come and the days are long, look no farther than right here. I will lead you.”
Makin Island was the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the ship saved over $15 million in fuel costs during the 2011-2012 deployment and the Navy expects to see fuel cost savings of more than $250 million, over the course of the ship’s lifecycle.
Lessons learned during Makin Island’s maiden deployment prove the Navy’s commitment to energy awareness and conservation and will positively influence future ship designs for several decades.
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.
The ship is currently undergoing a Phased Maintenance Availability (PMA) at Naval Base San Diego. During this ten month PMA period, Makin Island will receive numerous equipment upgrades, modernization, and general repairs. The PMA period will also help to ensure the ship will reach the full service life of at least 40 years.
Press Release, June 17, 2013; Image: US Navy