by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Sandip K. Dhesi
HONG KONG - The George Washington Carrier Strike Group, centered around the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, arrived in Hong Kong for a routine port visit, Nov. 9.
While in port, the ship will host a reception for more than 600 local dignitaries and numerous public tours for another 1,000 more.
“The diverse nature of Hong Kong offers each and every crew member a wide range of events, venues and options to pursue, as well as provide a well deserved mental and physical break from the day-to-day routine of operations at sea,” said Capt. David A. Lausman, George Washington’s commanding officer.
Annually, the U.S. Navy makes an average of 40 port visits to Hong Kong.
“This is George Washington’s second time in Hong Kong since being assigned as the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier,” said Lausman. “We have a great opportunity to provide the citizens a taste of what America really is all about. All of our Sailors are true ambassadors, representing the humanity and compassion of our country.”
During this visit George Washington will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) and the guided-missile destroyers, USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54).
Besides taking time to explore the rich cultural opportunities a port visit to Hong Kong offers, Sailors will be participating in 10 different community service projects. These projects range from assembling and repairing shelters for the Hong Kong Dog Rescue to accompanying the handicapped during a visit to Disneyland.
“I feel like I’m winning twice,” said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Sierra Goldenwire from Savannah, Ga. “Not only do I get to experience Disneyland in a new and exciting way, I get to give back while I’m doing it.”
“I like that I have a chance to help people do things they normally can’t do by themselves,” said Damage Controlman Fireman Michelle Lehman from St. Petersburg, Fla., who will spend a day of her liberty at the Fu Hong Society making arts and crafts with adults who are learning disabled.
Since George Washington pulled out of her forward operating port of Yokosuka, Japan on Sep. 19, Sailors from the aircraft carrier have volunteered a total of 1,730 hours towards community service projects across the western Pacific.
Fourteen sightseeing opportunities have also been organized by George Washington’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team. These tours include trips to TaiMo Shan Lookout, Tsing Ma Bridge and Macau.
“This is my twelfth time to Hong Kong and I’m excited for the crew because this port visit continues to remain one of the crown jewels of liberty ports offering great food, shopping and tourist attractions that I know they’ll always remember,” said Lausman.