USS ESSEX, At sea –
Sailors and Marines assigned to the
forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and the
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit experienced Hong Kong Nov. 17-19
through a variety of tours offered by the ship’s Morale, Welfare and
Recreation (MWR) department.
Throughout the visit, 194 Sailors and
Marines participated in 17 distinct tours that offered a wide range
of recreational opportunities, from rock climbing to inner-city
“We always want to
offer a variety of options so that people can find something they
enjoy, no matter what their interests may be. Hong Kong provided a
great opportunity for us to do that,” said Dave Glazier, who served
as Essex’s afloat recreation specialist for the Hong Kong port
visit. “We had a lot of people take advantage of our Hong Kong tour
packages and I hope that everyone enjoyed their experience.”
From bright lights
and busy city streets to the airy mountains of Lantau Island, Essex
Sailors and Marines experienced virtually everything Hong Kong has
to offer. Many said they preferred to MWR opportunities because of
the affordability and convenience of the tour packages.
“You end up saving
a lot of money doing tours through MWR,” said Information Systems
Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Kevin Rodraungsri, who participated in
MWR’s Hong Kong island tour. “It definitely costs a little bit more
to take cabs when you’re trying to get out and see things.”
The Hong Kong
Island tour took participants to a number of distinct locations on
Hong Kong Island, including Man Mo Temple at Hollywood Road, Stanley
Market and Victoria Peak.
“My favorite part
of the tour was most definitely Victoria Peak,” said Rodraungsri.
“They have everything you could want up there and I wish I could
have spent more time there.”
Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW/SW) Nathaniel Sukal said
MWR makes it convenient for Sailors to go site seeing when visiting
a foreign port.
“It’s really nice
to be able to take a trip and not worry about how you’re going to
get there, how much it costs and those kind of things,” said Sukal.
in the cultural heritage tour, which was designed to highlight the
culture of Hong Kong through a number of historic sites, including
Lo Wai village, Tin Hau Temple and the Bamboo Forest Monastery,
which houses the three largest Buddha statues in Hong Kong.
“My favorite part
was definitely the big Buddha,” said Sukal, who is serving his
second tour on Essex. “When I was stationed here before, I really
wanted to get out there and check it out, but wasn’t able to do it.
Being out here on Essex for a second time has given me that
MWR is already
looking forward to future visits in other countries, said Glazier.
“We have a really
unique opportunity to see a number of interesting places with very
distinct cultures,” said Glazier. “Every time we pull into a port
it’s another chance for our Sailors and Marines to have an
experience that they will remember for a long time, and our goal is
to make it a little bit easier and more affordable for them to do
commanded by Capt. Troy Hart, is part of the forward-deployed Essex
Amphibious Ready Group and is on patrol in the Western Pacific.