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HONG KONG - The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), along with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), arrived in Hong Kong May 25 for a port visit.
More than 2,000 Sailors and Marines are expected to go ashore to visit the city and participate in goodwill-generating activities as well as cultural exchanges.
"We appreciate the rich history of Hong Kong and look forward to enjoying our time in this part of the world," said Capt. Cedric Pringle, Makin Island's commanding officer. "Dozens of U.S. Navy ships visit Hong Kong each year, and we are fortunate to make this visit as part of our maiden deployment."
Pringle said the Sailors and Marines serving aboard Makin Island are also excited about taking part in the community service projects that include distributing food to the elderly and helping to renovate a local animal shelter.
"We are excited to have this opportunity to help promote peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region," said Pringle. "Makin Island Sailors and Marines are excellent ambassadors for the United States during every port visit we make."
Makin Island joins the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18), also assigned to the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which arrived in Hong Kong May 23.
Sailors and Marines are also expected to participate in a variety of Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours around the city including trips to Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park, the Buddha Statue Museum and Victoria Peak.
Kristen Venoy, Makin Island's MWR "fun boss," said she hopes all Makin Island Sailors and Marines enjoy their port visit to Hong Kong and take time to enjoy the culture.
"From shopping and eating to Disneyland and mountain biking, I think we have a tour for just about everyone," said Venoy. "The Sailors and Marines have worked hard over the past few months and this port visit is a reward for all of that hard work."
This is the first time Makin Island has visited Hong Kong. The ship and its crew, along with the embarked 11th MEU, departed San Diego Nov. 14, 2011, on deployment.
Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island ARG that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
The 7th Fleet area of operations includes more than 52 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian oceans, stretching from the international date line to the east coast of Africa, and from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south.