HONG KONG (NNS) -- Seventh Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Hong Kong on Feb. 20 for the ship's first port visit since March 2010.
In addition to participating in community service events, more than 70 Blue Ridge, 7th Fleet embarked staff Sailors and Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Pacific, will experience the hospitality of 18 families who will host them in their homes for lunch or dinner through the "Meals in the Home" program.
"Meals in the Home" is an exchange program designed to connect local Hong Kong residents with U.S. Navy Sailors to encourage cultural differences and experiences in a domestic setting.
"I'm looking forward to meeting new people and having new experiences," said Yeoman 3rd Class Ashley Laws.
Sailors will also participate in community service projects at Fu Hong Society and Hong Chi Pinehill Village where they plan to clean rooms, playgrounds, and roofs, and to perform landscaping in the surrounding areas.
The crew will also have the opportunity to experience Hong Kong through Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours to visit nearby Chinese cities Guangzhou and Shenzen, Ocean Park and Disneyland Resort theme parks, China's gaming city of Macau, and Victoria Peak to see "A Symphony of Light," an exterior building light and laser display presented every night.
"Hong Kong is a favorite port of many Sailors, one rich with culture and history," said Blue Ridge Command Master Chief David A. Unnone. "Over the next few days, our Sailors will enjoy the warm hospitality and vibrant city landscapes this international city so proudly embraces. We look forward creating new and lasting friendships while participating in community service and while on liberty."
Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the command ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. CTF 76 is headquartered aboard White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan; with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.