Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group Arrives in Hong Kong
HONG KONG - The ships of the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) arrived in Hong Kong Aug. 12 for a port visit after supporting Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and New Dawn in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to visit this fine city of Hong Kong,” said Capt. Thom Burke, commanding officer, USS Ronald Reagan. “We are looking forward to experiencing the culture and continuing to build ties in the community.”
While in Hong Kong, Sailors and Marines of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7; the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62); and the guided-missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Higgins (DDG 76) will participate in community service (COMSERV) projects and experience the local culture through tours offered by the ships’ Morale, Welfare and Recreation departments.
“I have been anticipating this port for some time,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Briana Luttrell. “I’m going on a couple tours, going shopping, and trying some local food. It will be great having some time off the ship.”
The COMSERVs will include opportunities to distribute food and visit with the elderly, provide care and encouragement to youth, provide landscaping to facility grounds, and play games with children.
“COMSERVs are good because it is nothing but a win-win situation,” said Chief Religious Programs Specialist Latanya Billingslea. “It is great for a Sailor who wants to give back and do something that will always be remembered by the host country, and it is awesome for the command. We are representatives and ambassadors of the United States Navy.”
The tours available to the crew include trips to Hong Kong Island and Macau, shopping outings to various centers, experiencing the city’s night life, exploring the landscape through biking and hiking excursions, sampling local cuisine, and several others.
Sailors and Marines will also have a unique cultural interaction opportunity through a program called “Meals in the Home,” an exchange program designed to connect local Hong Kong residents with U.S. Navy Sailors and Marines to encourage cultural differences and experiences in a domestic setting.
Since departing its homeport of San Diego Feb. 2, the ships of Ronald Reagan CSG were the first on the scene in Japan following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck March 11.
Following their role in providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief in Japan, the Ronald Reagan then proceeded on to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility where they conducted various operations in support of Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and New Dawn.
Along with the ships of the Ronald Reagan CSG, the embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.