US, Republic of Korea Sailors Join Forces to Bestow Goodwill


Sixty Sailors from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), U.S. 7th Fleet flagship; embarked 7th Fleet staff; and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy came together as one team participating in a community service (COMSERV) project at a children’s home during a scheduled port visit to Busan, Republic of Korea, Feb. 25

Lt. Donald Baker, Blue Ridge chaplain, coordinated the visit with Hee-Rak-Won Children’s Home Director Park Hyo-il, and ROK Navy liaison, Kim Jong-Soon. This community service event was established to strengthen the friendship of both militaries and the children’s home while bringing happiness to the children.

Hyo-il said that the children enjoyed the interaction with U.S. Navy Sailors because of the interesting and unique opportunity presented to them. This event builds on the United States’ partnership with the Republic of Korea and its people.

The children performed drum cadences and played games with Sailors from both nations. Sailors also helped clean up the outside of the children’s home.

Despite the fact participants were challenged with a language barrier, the event was still a memorable experience for those involved. Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Amy Kellans said that friendship was the universal bond that linked the Sailors and school children.

For Yeoman Third Class Jesse Welsh, the experience was more than volunteering his time for the children.

“After visiting with the children and realizing how little they have, it helped me put my life into perspective,” said Welsh. “It’s amazing to realize how we impacted the children positively with our presence.”

Blue Ridge is under the command of Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Grieco and is the flagship of the U.S. 7th Fleet. Blue Ridge is under the purview of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Scott Swift and Commander, Amphibious Forces 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Scott Jones.

Naval Today Staff , February 28, 2012