Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Makin Island II (LHD-8)


Submarines Argonaut (SS-166) and Nautilus (SS-168) transported Companies “A" and "B," 2d Marine Raider Battalion, Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson, USMC, in command, and raided Japanese held Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, on 17-18 August 1942. Nautilus's gunfire supported the marines while they fought the defenders ashore. The relative ease with which the marines and sailors carried out the assault boosted American morale, but, more ominously, also inspired the Japanese to bolster their defenses in the region. For additional information see: Sergeant Clyde A. Thomason, USMCR; and Aug. 17, 1942: First amphibious attack made from submarines.


(LHD-8: displacement 41,684; length 847'; beam 118'; draft 23'; speed 28 knots; complement 1,204, troop capacity 1,687; armament 2 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers, 2 RIM-7 NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers, 3 Mk 38 25 millimeter Close-in Guns, 1 Mk 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System, 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 1 ceremonial gun; aircraft McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs, Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallions, Bell Boeing MV-22B Ospreys, Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights, Bell AH-1Z Vipers, and Bell UH-1Y Venoms; class Wasp)

Makin Island (LHD-8) was laid down on 14 February 2004 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Ingalls Operations; launched on 22 September 2006; sponsored by Mrs. Silke Hagee, wife of Gen. Michael W. Hagee, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps; and commissioned at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., on 24 October 2009, Capt. Robert G. Kopas in command.

Makin Island (LHD-8) II 2009-Seal


Makin Island (LHD-8) is named for the daring raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies “A” and “B,” 2d Raider Battalion, on Japanese-held Makin Island during World War II, on 17-18 August, 1942; and for escort aircraft carrier Makin Island (CVE-93), that served from 1944-1946. Dark blue alludes to the sea, and gold is for excellence. Scarlet refers to the U.S. Marine Corps. The shield border shape and thickness symbolize Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, and honors the 30 Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country there. The five stars commemorate the five battle stars awarded to CVE-93. The Raider Crest, a blue shield with skull and five stars in the shape of the Southern Cross, commemorates the marines who raided the island. The trident symbolizes sea prowess, and with its three tines represents the future contributions of the second Makin Island, her associated expeditionary strike group, and the USMC main battery in the air, across the surface, and under the sea. The trident also represents the contributions that the 2d Raider Battalion and the first Makin Island made to sea power.


The inverted blue star honors Sergeant Clyde A. Thomason, USMCR, who gallantly fell while leading an assault on a Japanese position during the Makin Island Raid, and posthumously received the Medal of Honor. The embedded stylized cross alludes to the Navy Cross and commemorates those awarded to the marine raiders after Makin Island. The phoenix is the symbol of transformation and new beginnings. It has two heads, one looking to the past and the other to the future representing Makin Island’s role as the transformational bridge between the LHD class and the next generation of amphibious capital ships. The flames and lightning bolts below the phoenix symbolize the rebirth of amphibious capital ships with gas turbines, electric drive, and all electric auxiliaries. In the wreath below the flames, blue represents the U.S. Navy and the United States. White represents integrity and loyalty. The two colors interwoven in the rope represent how these two responsibilities are forever intertwined.


A naval officer’s sword, 1917 naval non-commissioned officer’s (NCO’s) cutlass, USMC officer’s Mameluke, and an 1840 USMC NCO sword represent the teamwork required of the officers and enlisted sailors and marines for Makin Island to accomplish her mission.


Makin Island (CVE-93) and the marines of the 2nd Raider Battalion adopted “Gung Ho” as their battle cry, which translates as “Work Together.”

Makin Island (LHD-8) II 2009-SSFW 2010
Makin Island passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge during San Francisco Fleet Week 2010, 6 October 2010. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Glenn S. Robertson, Makin Island Public Affairs, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet)
Makin Island (LHD-8) II 2009-110907-N-KD852-156
Aircraft pack Makin Island’s flight deck while she works-up in Southern Californian waters in preparation for her maiden deployment, 7 September 2011. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 110907-N-KD852-156, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet)

Makin Island, Capt. Cedric E. Pringle in command, sailed on her maiden deployment, to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Gulf (14 November 2011-22 June 2012). Capt. Humberto L. Quintanilla II, Commander Amphibious Squadron 5, broke his flag in Makin Island. The ship made her voyage with marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked, Col. Michael R. Hudson, USMC, in command, and in company with amphibious transport dock New Orleans (LPD-18) and dock landing ship Pearl Harbor (LSD-52).

During Makin Island’s seven-month deployment, she carried out maritime security operations and theater security cooperation exercises with the Seventh and Fifth Fleets. The flagship relieved amphibious assault ship Bataan (LHD-5), with marines of the 22nd MEU embarked, in the Gulf of Aden, on 6 January 2012. In addition, Makin Island visited Bahrain, Hong Kong, Jordan, Malaysia, Pearl Harbor, Hi., and Singapore. Her hybrid-electric propulsion system saved more than four million gallons of fuel, resulting in an estimated cost savings in excess of $15 million. This system is designed to run on auxiliary propulsion motors at low speeds and on gas turbines at higher speeds, but the ship consequently incurs substantial logistic issues concerning replacement parts.

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

2 April 2014

Published: Wed Aug 05 12:28:23 EDT 2015