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Kitty Hawk Sailors Make Most of Busan Port Visit

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050329-02
Release Date: 3/29/2005 9:02:00 AM

By Journalist 3rd Class Christopher Koons, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs

USS KITTY HAWK, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and USS Cowpens (CG 63) departed Busan, Republic of Korea, March 17 after a three-day visit, during which many Sailors took advantage of opportunities to help the local community and experience a foreign culture.

More than 100 Sailors volunteered to spend their free time in Busan assisting with four local community service projects, all at local orphanages.

"We arranged these trips through Commander, Naval Forces Korea (CNFK)," said Cmdr. Michael Schutz, Kitty Hawk's command chaplain, whose religious ministries department coordinated the trips. "CNFK put us in contact with Republic of Korea Sailors for the projects."

About 120 Hawk/5 Sailors, as well as 44 Republic of Korea Navy Sailors, went on the four trips, said Schutz.

"They were a good way to interact with Korean navy sailors, as well as the locals in Busan," he said. "The children and workers at the orphanages all greatly appreciated the help."

For the Kitty Hawk Sailors who went to Busan's Ah-ee-deul-eui-jip children's home March 16, the visit was an excellent opportunity to lend others a helping hand.

"Every time I have the opportunity to help out less fortunate people, I do," said Master Chief Personnelman (AW) Hector Escajeda, executive department's leading chief petty officer. "I always enjoy doing community service projects when I'm in a foreign port."

At the children's home, Sailors helped clear away leaves and sticks in the orphanage playground, removed soil to plant gardens, and walked the youngest children around the orphanage in strollers.

"It was very touching and amazing," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Dawn Lafferty of medical department, who helped take the children for stroller rides. "I have three children of my own, so I was pleased to be able to provide love and nurturing to these orphans."

Fourteen Republic of Korea Sailors also went on the children's home trip, all of whom did the same tasks as the Kitty Hawk Sailors.

"This was a good example of cooperation between our two navies," said Chief Warrant Officer Moon Seok-Nam of the Korean navy's 3rd Fleet, who supervised the Korean Sailors. "Our guys had a great time."

Many Sailors also got to experience Busan through the many trips offered through Kitty Hawk's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) division.

"Participation in all of our tours was great," said MWR director Nate Greene. "A total of 270 Sailors went on the Osan shopping tour, while 40 Sailors went on a tour of the Demilitarized Zone. We also had 70 Sailors who went to the Lotte dinner/multicultural show."

Sailors more interested in athletic events than in shopping participated in sporting events while on liberty in Busan.

"We played the Korean army team March 16 at Camp Hialeah," said Lt. Cmdr. Lou Evans, head coach of Kitty Hawk's soccer team. "We won, 3-1, but it was a great match, and the Koreans were gracious hosts. It was good to be playing again for the first time since we left Yokosuka."

Kitty Hawk, CVW-5 and Cowpens Sailors also played in a basketball tournament at Camp Hialeah.

"It was a very good tournament with great participation," said Chief Yeoman (SW/AW) Alton McCoy, who organized the tournament. "We had excellent support from Nate Greene and MWR."

Sailors who did not go on an MWR tour, play in a sporting event or go on a community service project still said they enjoyed themselves in Busan.

"I went shopping at the International Market, Texas Street and at Camp Hialeah," said Chief Storekeeper (SW) Leovic Camarista of Kitty Hawk's maintenance department. "I greatly enjoyed all three places."

After departing Korea, preparations are underway for Kitty Hawk and CVW-5 to participate in the annual Reception, Staging, Onward Movement & Integration, and Foal Eagle 2005 (RSOI/FE 05) exercises, featuring Republic of Korea and U.S. military forces. The exercise demonstrates U.S. commitment to the Korea/U.S. alliance and enhances combat readiness of Korean and U.S. supporting forces through combined and joint training.

The Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, CVW-5, the guided-missile cruisers USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.

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