" Sailors aboard a rigid-hull inflatable boat, launched from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), approach the trimaran of a missing Chinese mariner during a search and rescue mission in the western Pacific Ocean. The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group is deployed with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of the Navy™s maritime strategy in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of responsibility. (Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jason J. Perry)
CHANGI, Singapore (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) arrived in Singapore for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 18.
The port visit will allow Sailors from Makin Island and Marines from the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to experience the local culture and conduct professional military exchanges with members of the Republic of Singapore Navy. This will be the ship's first port visit since departing Naval Station San Diego for deployment to the U.S. 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation, Oct. 14.
Makin Island's Commanding Officer, Capt. Mark Melson, said port visits and liberty give the crew and embarked Marines a valuable opportunity to gain appreciation for Singapore's culture.
"The Makin Island team is grateful for the opportunity to visit Singapore," said Melson. "Our Sailors and Marines are looking forward to experiencing Singapore's culture and the chance to interact with the local population as we continue to strengthen our partnership."
While in Singapore, Sailors and Marines plan to conduct local community engagement activities coordinated by Makin Island staff, as well as host a ship tour for members of the Republic of Singapore Navy.
"Engagements like those we have planned in Singapore are a traditional part of Navy and Marine Corps service," Makin Island Command Chaplain, Cmdr. Thomas Ianucci said. "Our Sailors and Marines embrace the chance to serve the community, whether at home or abroad, and it's something we are proud to be able to accomplish in Singapore."
For many Sailors and Marines aboard Makin Island this will be their first opportunity to experience a foreign port.
"I'm excited to learn about and experience a different culture," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Devin Langer, from Austin, Texas. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm going to make the most of it."
Makin Island, the flag ship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, with the embarked 11th MEU, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Makin Island's visit to Singapore follows their participation in exercise Tiger Strike 2016, which concluded Nov. 13. Tiger Strike is a U.S.-Malaysia bilateral exercise designed to enhance interoperability, tactical proficiencies, and military-to-military partnership between participating forces.
The 7th Fleet area of operations includes more than 48 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, running from the international dateline to the eastern coast of Africa, and from the Antarctic to the Kuril Islands, Northeast of Japan.
While in 7th Fleet, the Makin Island ARG and 11th MEU will be assigned to Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.