USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14, and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, departed Hong Kong June 13, following a four-day scheduled port visit.
In addition to Ronald Reagan, the crews of USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS Decatur (DDG 73) were in Hong Kong June 10-13 to enjoy the port visit that included shopping, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored tours, and community service projects.
"This was an excellent port to wrap up our deployment," said Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Alyson Krauss, assigned to Ronald Reagan. "There were lots of tours to choose from. I went on the Twin Cities Tour to Macau and Shenzhen, which took me on a tour of three different countries in one day, which isn't something everyone can say they've done."
In addition to Sailors taking tours to experience the wonders of mainland China, there were other tours that highlighted the beauty found on the island of Hong Kong itself.
"They first day I went on the Aberdeen Cruise, a tour sponsored by MWR, where we dined in the world-renown floating restaurant in Aberdeen," said Krauss.
Another tour offered to Sailors was the "Hong Kong Island Tour" that provided Sailors a glimpse of the Man Mo Temple and a tram ride to Victoria Peak (elevation 1,503 feet), before a stop at a jewelry factory and the Stanley Market. The "Highlight of the Night" tour, which also featured a tram ride to Victoria Peak, was followed by a gourmet dinner served during a sunset cruise through Victoria Harbor, and ended at Lan Kwai Fong, one of Hong Kong's premier nightlife areas.
In addition to the MWR tours, there were several community service projects put together by Ronald Reagan's Religious Ministries Department (RMD) for Sailors to take part in during the port visit.
Projects included a "Meals in the Home" opportunity for Sailors, and renovation, painting and cleaning at a home for the elderly, several children's homes including one for the blind, and the Ronald McDonald House in Hong Kong.
"The [community service event] that I participated in while the ship was in Hong Kong was at a home for the elderly," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Emily Collier, also assigned to Ronald Reagan. "They were really nice there. They helped us get all the supplies we needed to do work. Some of us did painting and some landscape and gardening work."
"It was raining out there, but it was a lot of fun," said Collier, who experienced a community service project for the first time in Hong Kong. "I think that everyone should give it a shot once. It helps the local communities and furthers good relations with foreign countries. I think it also gives someone a sense of pride when they've helped another person with the work they've accomplished."
A reception for distinguished visitors and guests of the U.S. Consulate General was held June 10 aboard the ship. Ronald Reagan's basketball team also played a goodwill match against a team from the People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong during the port visit.
Commissioned in 2003, Reagan is the Navy's newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and is currently underway on her maiden deployment in support of the global war on terrorism and maritime security operations.
Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.
For more information, visit the U.S. 7th Fleet Web site at www.c7f.navy.mil.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.