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GW Hosts Korean CNO, Congressional Delegation

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091016-18
Release Date: 10/16/2009 3:04:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dave Reynolds, USS George Washington Public Affairs

USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At sea (NNS) -- Commander, George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GW CSG) welcomed Republic of Korea chairman and members of the National Defence Committee and Republic of Korea (ROK)chief of naval operations aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) Oct. 14.

Rear Adm. Kevin M. Donegan welcomed ROK Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jung Ok-Keun aboard as the delegation toured the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and observed embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 perform flight operations.

The embark coincided with the ROK's annual congressional review, during which committee members work with ROK naval leaders to assess current needs of the navy. While embarked, members of the delegation were able to get a firsthand look at the close cooperation between the U.S. Navy and its close ally the Republic of Korea during a bilateral exercise. The delegation was able to witness how that interoperability contributes to security in the area and throughout the Western Pacific Ocean.

"On behalf of not only this ship and strike group, but also the United States Navy, thank you for coming and visiting with us today," Donegan said. "You got a nice picture of the aircraft carrier today, but I also want you to know that it's not just the aircraft carrier—it's all the aircraft, submarines and ships of our navies, and the Sailors on them working together—that make our alliance so strong."

The ROK's top naval officer said he enjoyed the opportunity to tour the carrier, and also commented on the importance of the U.S.-ROK commitment to regional stability.

"I'd like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have coordinated this event, for their hospitality," Jung said. "The United States is a country that has helped Korea during its hardest times, and our alliance is a model on which other alliances can be founded. Although we had a brief moment together, the alliance will last for years."

Since Oct. 10, the GW CSG and ROK Navy have been engaged in a series of exercises and professional exchanges. Sailors and officers from each naval force have embarked on allied ships and are currently exchanging ideas and procedures, standing watches and performing their shipboard duties alongside one another.

According to George Washington Commanding Officer Capt. David A. Lausman, programs like this are an important way to continue to foster close cooperation between the two regional partners.

George Washington departed its forward-deployed port of Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan Oct. 6 on its second fall deployment as the Navy's forward-deployed carrier presence. The GW CSG, commanded by Donegan, also includes CVW 5, Destroyer Squadron 15, and the guided missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).

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