Newest amphibious assault ship heads out


City News Service

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island left San Diego today for its maiden deployment, along with two other vessels.

The Makin Island will be joined on deployment by the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans and personnel from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Together, they make up the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.

The Navy did not announce where the ships are headed, though vessels from San Diego typically head to the Western Pacific and Middle East for six or seven months, which would leave military families separated for the holidays.

Asked by 10News what she’ll miss most, one Navy wife answered, Everything -- his hugs, his kisses, him playing with the kids.’’

The Makin Island is the first Navy ship to be equipped with gas turbines and an electric drive system replacing the older technology of steam boilers — making the ship function more like a hybrid car, traveling longer distances with less fuel.

The ship, named after the World War II battle site, can also produce 200,000 gallons of fresh water every day.