PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) - Twenty-one business and community leaders embarked ampibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Feb. 15-17.

The California-based leaders embarked the ship for one-day embarks as part of the Leaders to Sea (LTS) program.

Through the LTS program, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) provides an opportunity for leaders from business and civic organizations to experience the daily operations on board a Navy warship and to become familiar with the capabilities of the surface force.

Lynn Reaser, chief economist for Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, said she was thrilled to be chosen to tour the Makin Island.

"I wish that every single American citizen could participate in this experience because it truly gives you an appreciation of the equipment, the technology and the capabilities that we have to defend our nation," she said.

Makin Island Sailors gave the guests an in-depth tour, including a trip to the ship's medical and engineering facilities and introductions to different mission-centric spaces throughout the ship. They learned about Navy jobs, watchstanding procedures and the responsibilities placed on young Sailors.

"We hope that the embarked guests take away with them a feeling of satisfaction that they've seen an example of America's best fighting force, and that they've seen the pride and professionalism that our Sailors have in what they do, day in and day out, in defense of their country," said Capt. Jim Landers, Makin Island's commanding officer.

Makin Island is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, which currently conducting training exercises off the coast of California. The ship is preparing for a deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation later this year.

For more news from USS Makin Island (LHD 8), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd8/.