USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) departs Hong Kong, Oct. 6. (U.S. Navy/MC3 James Ku)

HONG KONG - The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), departed Hong Kong after a scheduled port visit, Oct. 6.

The first visit in three years by a U.S. aircraft carrier, the four-day visit allowed Sailors assigned to Ronald Reagan and Carrier Air Wing 5 opportunities to experience Hong Kong, participate in community service projects, tours, cultural exchanges, and sporting events.

“Since being forward-deployed in the 7th Fleet, for many of our Sailors on board, this is their first opportunity to visit Hong Kong,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, commanding officer of Ronald Reagan. “I really appreciate, personally, the time the city has taken to welcome us during this Golden Week.”

National Day Golden Week is a public holiday observed in Hong Kong, Macau, and China, which celebrates the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Ronald Reagan hosted a reception for distinguished guest, Oct. 3, which included the Consul General of the United States to Hong Kong and Macau, Kurt W. Tong, and Senior Captain Fang Yuxin, deputy chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison.

“We appreciate our friends in Hong Kong,” said Tong. “The service that is provided to the American people and citizens of the world by our Sailors travelling around the world is peerless and unmatched by any other service. There is a tradition of the U.S. Navy visiting Hong Kong and it’s a tradition we cherish and hope to continue in the future.”

The ship also hosted tours for hundreds of guests, media and Hong Kong residents where they had the opportunity to meet with Sailors, tour the flight deck and get an up close look at the aircraft of Carrier Air Wing 5.

Sailors visited Hong Kong, Kowloon, and Lantau Island areas through five different tours sponsored by Ronald Reagan’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation.

“I went up to Victoria Peak to see all of the city,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Lloyd Bartley, from Houston. “The tour was informative and fascinating. The trams and just getting around was really easy. The people were nice and I would definitely come back to bring my nieces to Disneyland.”

Ronald Reagan’s command religious ministries department Sailors scheduled nine community relations projects and 10 cultural exchanges through the Adopt-a-Sailor program. The Adopt-a-Sailor program paired Sailors with Hong Kong residents to give them a local experience to foster cultural exchange. Ronald Reagan Sailors also participated in a soccer match with the Hong Kong Police Force.

“We have greatly enjoyed our visit to Hong Kong and appreciate the hospitality we experienced while in port,” said Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander, Task Force 70. “Hong Kong is a vibrant and fascinating city and we hope to continue making visits like this in the future.”

Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Sailors from USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) take selfies with students during a community service project at Po Kok Primary School, Oct. 4. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Jamal McNeill)
Capt. Buzz Donnelly, left, Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, Senior Captain Yuxin Fang, and U.S. Consul General Kurt Tong, cut the cake during a reception aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy/MC2 Janweb B. Lagazo)