In this file photo, USS New Orleans (LPD 18) transits the Indian Ocean May 8 with USS Makin Island (LHD 8), left, and USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Lill)

HONG KONG - The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Hong Kong for a port visit, May 23.

This the second port visit for the crew since departing the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, May 8.

New Orleans spent more than four months conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in 5th Fleet.

"We are excited to have this opportunity to visit the fine city of Hong Kong," said Cmdr. Dennis Jacko, New Orleans' commanding officer. "My crew is excited for the opportunities to explore this unique part of China and its culture. I haven't been here since 1999, so I will be very interested to see how much the city has grown."

While in Hong Kong, Sailors and Marines will participate in community service projects and experience the local culture through tours offered by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office.

Community service activities will include visiting two local schools, the Tin Shui Wai Primary School and Sham Shui Po Primary School, through the Kids Alive International (HK) program. The program's purpose is to provide care and encouragement to the youth participants through various activities and interactions, and share positive values toward life.

"I'm so glad to have a chance for our Sailors and Marines to give back to the ports we visit," said Lt. Paul Armstrong, the ship's chaplain. "This will be a real positive experience for both our crew and the children."

Scheduled MWR tours include a trip to Disneyland, shopping and tours of the city and historical areas.

New Orleans and the 11th MEU are part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.