Flight Deck Precision On A U.S. Navy Amphibious Assault Ship

This video is very simple, yet very revealing of the kind of coordination of action that the flight deck crews on the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ships must know and execute. It also shows the power, the beauty and the warfighting skills of the F-35B Lightning II that fly off of them.

The video was taken on the USS Makin Island (LHD-8), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. It is named after the Makin Island target of the famous Marine Raiders raid early in the Pacific during WWII. She started construction in February 2004, was launched on Sept. 22, 2006, and commissioned on Oct. 24 2009. Her homeport is San Diego. Her motto is “Gung Ho!”

The flight crew aboard the USS Makin prepares a F-35B Lightning II  for takeoff.
Source: YouTube/
U.S. Navy
The flight crew aboard the USS Makin prepares a F-35B Lightning II for takeoff.

The USS Makin Island is designed to bring Marine Corps units, both land and air to wherever they are needed. She can carry 1,687 troops (plus a 184 surge) Marine detachment. She also has a compliment of:

  • 6 AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft, or 6 F-35B Lightning II stealth strike-fighters
  • 4 AH-1W/Z Super Cobra/Viper attack helicopters
  • 12 MV-22B Osprey assault support tilt rotor craft
  • 4 CH-53 E Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters
  • 3-4 UH-1Y venom utility helicopters
The pilot watches the crew's signals.
Source: YouTube/
U.S. Navy
The pilot watches the crew’s signals.

As you can see this makes the amphibious assault ship a very versatile and lethal warship. What you will see and hear in this video is what goes on on the flight deck during launch operations. It is a well choreographed operation that is undertaken with precision and well-developed skills.  

With the all-clear, the jet takes off into the wild blue yonder.
Source: YouTube/
U.S. Navy
With the all-clear, the jet takes off into the wild blue yonder.

In one scene you will see the flight deck crew has removed the chains that hold down each plane. The crew stands to the side with the chains while the crew chief points to each, showing the pilot that they have the exact count and all is ready for the pilot to move into the take off position. Then you will see and hear the F-35B Lightning II taking off and the power of it. In the following scene you will see and hear the sound of these jets practicing strafing runs. 

It is all pretty impressive.

The crew has completed another successful takeoff.
Source: YouTube/
U.S. Navy
The crew has completed another successful takeoff.

These amphibious assault ships carry incredible technology. They bring both the ability to launch assault troops ashore, with both assault boat and helicopter capabilities, and also provide them with close up battlefield air support. They have the ability to re-supply and recover the troops on the ground as well. 

They are amazing warfighting ships.

A second video will give a larger look at the USS Makin Island at sea. You will see what she looks like and what she can do with her varied flight and assault launching capabilities. This is the perfect example of how the US Navy and United States Marine Corps work so closely with one another. 

The Veterans Site wishes all who serve on the USS Makin Island, “Fair Winds and Following Seas” and Semper Fi!

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