HONG KONG (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 departed Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor Dec. 30 after a three-day port visit.
The Vinson crew welcomed aboard more than 400 visitors to the ship's hangar bay Dec. 27 for a reception. U.S. service members mingled with their guests and counterparts from the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Attendees also took an aircraft elevator ride to tour the carrier's flight deck. Vinson's S-2 Division, of Supply Department, provided 800 pounds of food, including meat, seafood, cakes, fruits and vegetables. More than 24 hours were devoted to cook, chop, fry and bake the various items, with a separate team assigned to transform the hangar bay into a reception area with tables and carpet.
"The Food Service personnel did an outstanding job in preparing and executing this event," said S-2 Division's Leading Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Wilfred Cheong. "They took pride in their work regardless of their task, and it showed every step of the way."
Sailors volunteered their liberty time to interact with their host country through six community service (COMSERV) projects Dec. 28-29. Three hundred Sailors completed myriad of tasks - from fixing up and painting a home for the elderly to working at a homeless shelter. The COMSERVs, spearheaded by Vinson's Religious Ministries Department, were a popular liberty choice among Sailors.
"We probably filled up about 75 percent of the available slots within the first hour-and-a-half of the information coming out," said Religious Ministries Department's assistant leading petty officer Religious Programs Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Johnson. "Within three days, it was full. Usually about three weeks before a port visit, people start coming in asking about COMSERVs non-stop before we have any information. Once the information comes out, the phone just keeps ringing and the door's always opening."
Sailors also took advantage of opportunities to see Hong Kong's cultural offerings with Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored tours. From Disneyland and shopping to mountain biking and golf, MWR's goal was to offer something for everyone with 19 tours to choose from. Vinson's rugby and soccer teams also played against local Hong Kong nationals, building camaraderie over a common interest.
"It is important to have a variety of activities because everyone's interests differ. Everyone has limited liberty time and they want to make the most of it," said Therese Guinane, Vinson's "Fun Boss". "Since we visited Hong Kong in May, this was also an opportunity for Sailors to try something new they didn't get to do then."
Vinson and CVW 17, along with guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), comprise Carrier Strike Group 1 and are conducting a western Pacific deployment.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.