USS Makin Island, crew members to return to San Diego on Friday - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

USS Makin Island, crew members to return to San Diego on Friday

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The amphibious ready group led by the USS Makin Island is scheduled to return to San Diego on Friday following seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East, the Navy announced Wednesday.

The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor, will come home with its crew members and more than 2,100 Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"We were able to sharpen our skills while strengthening partnerships with our hosts," said Col. Michael Hudson, 11th MEU commander. "From survival and jungle training in Cambodia and Malaysia to full-scale raids and live-fire exercises with counterparts throughout the Middle East and Horn of Africa, this deployment employed all the capabilities of our air-ground logistics team."

Hudson said the ships were able to put the Marines at three or four places at once at times during the deployment.

The vessels are currently on a "Tiger Cruise," in which family and friends join the sailors for the ride home from Honolulu.

The Makin Island is completing its maiden deployment, which began Nov. 14 and included several months in the Middle East over the winter.

In March, the vessel's commanding officer, Capt. Jim Landers, was appointed to a Pacific Fleet staff position, so Capt. Cedric Pringle was placed in charge.

The ship is named after a Pacific Ocean atoll raided by Marines in August 1942, during World War II. It is now known as Butaritari.

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