USS JOHN C. STENNIS, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returned to sea Aug. 1 after a five-day port visit in Hong Kong.
After completing four and a half months of operations in the Middle East, Hong Kong is the fifth port visit of the ship's deployment. Prior to Hong Kong, Stennis visited Singapore July 18-23.
"I think this was a great port visit, if not the best," said Senior Chief Postal Clerk (SW/AW) Matthew Kendall, Stennis' Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) leading chief petty officer. "Sailors had the opportunity to enjoy themselves with tons to do and some great places to see."
While in Hong Kong, Sailors and Marines gave back to local communities by volunteering for community relations (COMREL) projects. More than 250 service members participated in 13 COMREL programs, from playing with elementary children to cleaning local beaches.
"My favorite part is meeting people and seeing how we touch them," said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Treva Stapleton, who volunteers for and helps organize COMREL programs. "We did a COMREL where we sang at a nursing home. Almost none of the people spoke English, but you could see the enjoyment on their faces. They love the music and interaction, regardless of the language barrier."
Stennis' MWR division provided a variety of tours and trips enjoyed by 2,629 crew members including a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong and a trip to the Lantau Island Monastery, home of the world's largest Buddha statue.
"The Lantau Island Monastery tour was amazing," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Nathan Coy, from Reactor Department. "Seeing the different aspects that Hong Kong has to offer was something else."
While operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Stennis' Sailors and Marines also participated in five COMREL projects in Singapore.
Beginning Aug. 7, Stennis will participate in exercise Valiant Shield with two other carriers, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).
Stennis' presence in the Western Pacific demonstrates the U.S. commitment to fulfilling treaty obligations and security arrangements in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR.
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 news from USS John C. Stennis, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn74/