USS Ronald Reagan sailors step foot in North Korea

The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), departed Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), October 21 after a scheduled five-day port visit.

Ronald Reagan arrived in Busan Oct. 16 after participating in exercise Invincible Spirit 2016.

One of the highlights for Ronald Reagan sailors visiting South Korea was an opportunity to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) located between the ROK and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“To be able to feel the tension between the two countries and to say I’ve stepped foot in North Korea is pretty phenomenal,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kim Snider. “I believe this trip is important for our sailors to experience because it teaches us history. It teaches us the sacrifices made by our fellow military service members, where we came from and why we do what we do today.”

Other activities included projects for sailors to interact with the local community, including visits to an orphanage, senior-citizen homes, local schools and a vocational rehabilitation center for people with disabilities.

“The heart of our mission starts with the strength of our partnerships throughout the region,” said Capt. Buzz Donnelly, Ronald Reagan’s commanding officerDonnelly. “It’s through these events that Reagan sailors strengthen our ties with the people of Republic of Korea and continue to build the alliance between our two counties.”

Ronald Reagan, together with its carrier strike group, is currently on an Indo-Asia-Pacific Region deployment.