Makin Island ARG Commemorates World War II Raid
Sailors and Marines assigned to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) joined on board Makin Island Aug. 17 to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the U.S. Marines' raid on Makin Island during World War II.
Capt. Jim Landers, Makin Island's commanding officer, hosted the event which included a performance by the Makin Island Choir, guest speakers and a cake-cutting ceremony.
"What's especially poignant to me is that we're all sitting here together as a combined team, because 69 years ago, 2nd Raider Battalion was delivered to the Makin Atoll [island] on Navy vessels -- the Argonaut and the Nautilus," said Landers. "On this ship, named after that raid, our two small boats are named Nautilus and Argonaut."
Landers also noted the importance of having both Sailors and Marines on board to mark the anniversary.
"It's especially significant to me to have this time, only the 2nd time we've commemorated this event since this ship was commissioned, our Marine team on board," said Landers.
Capt. Humberto Quintanilla II, commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5, served as keynote speaker, speaking about the relevance of the battle in relation to the strength of today's combined Navy and Marine Corps combat team.
"The one thing that shines clear in what happened in August of 1942 was that brave men went ashore, some brave men came back, some brave men did not," said Quintanilla. "It was a war fought by [men in their 20s] ...and if our nation calls, as we are at war today, we rise to the occasion, the 20-somethings know what to do."
Col. Michael Hudson, commander, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), also spoke during the event and focused his remarks on how the mission of today's amphibious assault ship with embarked Marines is to carry out many different types of raids.
"We are America's 911 force," said Hudson. "No matter what the task is, no matter were we need to go, we're all ready to accomplish it. Whether it's combat operations, disaster relief or to simply do some training with a friend out there; what we do everyday represents why America is the greatest nation on the planet."
Lance Cpl. Stephen Morgenson, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, who attended the ceremony, said he walked away with a better grasp of the legacy that the troops involved in the historic raid left for the Marines and Sailors of today.
"The commodore actually pointed out a lot of history that most of us probably didn't know," said Morgenson. "It was good to know a little bit more about our heritage. It's always nice to look back on where we've been in order to get a grasp on what we should strive to achieve."
Makin Island is the command ship of the Makin Island ARG, led by Commander, PHIBRON 5 and the 11th MEU.
Commissioned in 2009, Makin Island is the Navy's newest Wasp-class amphibious assault ship capable of utilizing surface and air assets to move Marine forces ashore. The ship is named in honor of the daring World War II raid carried out by Marine Raider Companies A and B, Second Raider Battalion, on Japanese held Makin Island Aug. 17-18, 1942. LHD 8 is the second ship to bear the name 'USS Makin Island.'
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Justin L. Webb, USS Makin Island Public Affairs