USS Makin Island (LHD 8), flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), pulled into Manama, Bahrain for a scheduled port visit in support of logistics and maintenance, Feb. 15-21. While this was a working port visit, Sailors and Marines had a number of opportunities to rest and unwind in designated areas on the pier. The ship was also able to utilize the Bahrain Navy Exchange’s “Downrange Program”, which allows personnel to purchase items such as food and incidentals while remaining in a quarantine status. These activities were planned and carried out in full compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense and host nation coronavirus (COVID-19) mitigation measures.
“Makin Island is focused on protecting Sailors and Marines and preventing the spread of the virus to U.S. forces, allies and partners, while maintaining warfighting readiness,” said Capt. Tom Ulmer, Makin Island commanding officer.
“The Sailors and Marines of Makin Island ARG and 15th MEU should be proud of the work they have done while deployed. We are grateful to the Kingdom of Bahrain for our port call, and proud to demonstrate our commitment to the free flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and regional maritime security while operating in 5th Fleet.” Capt. Stewart Bateshansky, Makin Island ARG commodore.
The Makin Island has been deployed since January in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), along with amphibious transport docks USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25), and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU). The Makin Island ARG and embarked 15th MEU have been operating in the Arabian Gulf since Jan. 22, providing support to regional and coalition partners, and to Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). The 5th Fleet AOO encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three chokepoints, critical to the free flow of global commerce.
USS Makin Island (LHD-8) is the eighth Wasp-class amphibious assault ships to be ordered for the U.S. Navy, but differs from her older sister ships in her propulsion system. The previous Wasp-class vessels used steam boilers and steam turbines to drive the propellers, while Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy vessel to use a hybrid propulsion system consisting of a combined diesel electric and gas turbine propulsion system. The ship’s armament consists of two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, two RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, three Mk 38 25-mm close-in guns, two Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS, four M2 Browning .50 caliber machine guns, and a ceremonial gun.