Deputy Secretary of Defense, SECNAV Visit USS Makin Island

Deputy Secretary of Defense, SECNAV Visit USS Makin Island

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with several flag and general officers in the area on board USS Makin Island (LHD 8) for a leadership breakfast and to tour the ship Sept. 27.

Upon arrival to the ship, Carter and Mabus were greeted by Capt. Cedric E. Pringle, Makin Island’s commanding officer. Before sitting down for breakfast, Pringle told Carter and Mabus about the history of Makin Island and the many accomplishments of the ship during its recent deployment.

Following breakfast, the guests were taken on a tour of Makin Island and were able to meet many of the Sailors who help to keep the ship fully mission capable. Lt. Cmdr. Brian Ponce, Makin Island’s main propulsion assistant, led the group on a tour of Nr. 2 Main Machinery Room to discuss the ship’s unique hybrid-electric propulsion system and other energy conservation methods.

“When our electric drives are in operation we spend very little money and very little resources” said Ponce. “That in combination with all the other energy saving prospects we have on board makes a significant difference in overall energy conservation on Makin Island.”

Ponce and Mabus also discussed the ship’s recent selection as the most recent SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award, which will be presented next week in Washington, D.C.

“We were able to discuss the highlights of what we earned,” said Ponce. “It was a great interaction and I think he was well pleased. I think he has a much better perspective especially now that he’s had first hand testimony of how the equipment operates.”

Guests also visited Makin Island’s medical facilities and were the medical team in action as annual flu vaccinations were being administered to crew members.

Lt. Cmdr. Adolfo Granados, Makin Island’s senior medical officer, explained the ship’s medical capabilities to the guests and how they compare with other afloat medical facilities.

“Our medical department is even bigger than that of an aircraft carrier,” Granados told the group. “Our medical capabilities must be robust in order provide maximize medical readiness and to provide maximum support for personnel who could be injured ashore.”

Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. During Makin Island’s maiden deployment, $15 million tax payer dollars were saved due to the system. The Navy expects to see fuel savings of more than $250 million over the course of the ship’s 40 year lifecycle, proving the Navy’s commitment to energy awareness and conservation.

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, to increase our energy independence, and to help lead the nation toward a more energy conscious economy.

Naval Today Staff,October 2, 2012; Image: US Navy