The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) successfully completed an ammunition onload, Feb 14.
This evolution was an intricate part of the ship’s preparation to become fully operational for deployment.
Sailors from weapons department worked around the clock, taking on approximately 878 pallets of conventional ordnance.
“I am very proud of each and every ordnanceman and fire controlman onboard the USS Makin Island,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Mattie Hackney. “They worked more than 18 hours a day to ensure that the onload was completed safely and expeditiously. We had Sailors from the PCU America and the USS Peleliu to assist in this major logistical process that was necessary for the ship to become fully operational in its war fighting capabilities.”
Teamwork played a major role in the success of the onload. The mission was completed by vertical replenishment with the assistance of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Three (HSC-23) and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two One (HSC-21) transferring ammunition from shore to Makin Island.
“On a personal note, I feel that even though we all came from different ships, different training we all came together as a team to accomplish the onload no matter how tired we were,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Kana Boudreaux.
Developing Sailors, training crews to fight and win, and providing warships ready for combat are the subjects of Vice Adm. Thomas H. Copeman III, Commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s “Vision for the 2026 Surface Fleet”, which consolidates a set of objectives and policies to maximize surface force readiness by concentrating on warfighting ability, sustainable excellence and wholeness over time.
Makin Island has incorporated this vision into it’s day-to-day operations.
“In order to prepare for the onload there was a significant amount of time spent training personnel and preparing our spaces and equipment for it,” said Hackney. “We had to ensure that each Ordnanceman was qualified in accordance with the qualification certification program to handle ordnance. There were numerous forklift classes and elevator classes conducted to ensure that we were ready for the evolution.”
Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is the Navy’s newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship capable of utilizing surface and air assets to move Marine forces ashore. The ship is named in honor of the daring World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion, on Japanese held Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name USS Makin Island.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Press Release, February 17, 2014; Image: Wikimedia