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Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 11 recently arrived in Hong Kong for a port visit Nov.16. Service members were given the opportunity to explore the ancient city and get a first-hand cultural experience.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler C. Vernaza

Marines and Sailors arrive in Hong Kong for port visit

16 Nov 2010 | Cpl. Michael A. Bianco

Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and Amphibious Squadron 11 arrived in Hong Kong for a port visit Nov. 16.

Nearly 2,500 Marines and Sailors, embarked aboard the USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Denver (LPD 9) have an opportunity to explore the famous city with a variety of tours and hosted dinners with locals.

“The Marines are really looking forward to the visit and are planning to take full advantage of the cultural experience, said Col. Andrew MacMannis, 31st MEU commanding officer. "This is a beautiful city to enjoy a port visit."

The ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division has provided a variety of tours, and opportunities to enjoy Hong Kong, for service members. The various trips include visits to Disneyland Hong Kong, Lantau Island Monastery and a trip showcasing the culture and history of the city.

During their visit, Marines and Sailors will also have a unique opportunity to spend time with Hong Kong families through the Meals in the Home Program.

 “It’s a great program everyone should take advantage of," said Essex Command Master Chief Petty Officer Brannon Knox. "I’ve done some of these events before and always had a great time. Marines and Sailors who participate always tell me what a great time they had too. They have the chance to see Hong Kong in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with a tour or exploring the city by themselves.”

The 31st MEU and PHIBRON 11 are visiting Hong Kong for the first time in almost two years and this is a new experience for many of the service members.

“This is a great chance to learn more about the culture first hand,” said Sgt. Christopher Trombley, 31st MEU assistant headquarters’ commandant. “Hong Kong is a port we don’t always get to visit, so this is an excellent opportunity to experience something new.”

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and an international shopping destination, Hong Kong offers something to almost everyone.

“Hong Kong is a great Asian port visit that’s been planned for some time, offering many cultural experiences for the crew of the ESSEX Amphibious Ready Group,” said Capt. Mark Weber, commodore, Amphibious Squadron Eleven. “We’re excited about the opportunity to be here and explore this beautiful part of the world.”

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit