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Carl Vinson Departs Republic of Korea

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS170320-18
Release Date: 3/20/2017 10:53:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zackary Alan Landers

USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 departed Busan, Republic of Korea, after a scheduled five-day port visit, March 20.

While in port, Carl Vinson Sailors hosted distinguished visitors, held a reception, and took in the sights and sounds of the Republic of Korea.

Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1, said he is proud of the relationship between the United States and the Republic of Korea.

"The Carl Vinson Strike Group is proud to call the Republic of Korea our partners, in the air and on the sea, as we continue to build on a relationship that spans more than 60 years," said Kilby. "The partnership is strengthened as we improve our interoperability during the Foal Eagle exercise and through moments like these. Katchi Kapshida [We Go Together]."

In addition to numerous distinguished visitor tours, Carl Vinson hosted a reception for local guests while in port. During the reception, Kilby and Capt. Douglas Verissimo, commanding officer of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), welcomed Charge d'Affaires ad interim U.S. Embassy Seoul Mr. Marc Knapper; Vice Adm. Jung Jin, Seop, commander Republic of Korea Fleet; and Commander of Naval Forces Korea, Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, among other guests, to highlight the strong partnership between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea.

Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 2 Sailors further highlighted the partnership through community service.

During the port visit, 120 Carl Vinson CSG Sailors participated in three community relations (COMREL) events at schools in Busan.

Sailors volunteered at Daecheon Middle School, DaeYon High School and YeaMoon Girls High School, answering questions from students and practicing English and Korean language skills.

According to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Keener, a Navy chaplain assigned to Carl Vinson, the events were popular with Sailors and students alike.

"The Sailors presented a good impression for these young teenagers when they visited," said Keener. "They were taking photos with the Sailors like crazy and the schools were very polite and receptive to us, as we were to them."

Keener said the trip was an interactive event, in that Sailors worked directly with students helping with English or playing games to improve language skills.

"Interacting with the students during the COMREL was an eye-opening experience for the Sailors, as they learned how seriously they take education in South Korea," said Keener. "The schools were very organized and disciplined."

According to Keener, these community relations events allow Sailors to show the good will of the U.S. Navy and demonstrate the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea.

"Anyone can see the goodness of Sailors when they do COMRELs," said Keener. "They want to be there. They want to support whatever the COMREL is doing. It represents a good side to the Navy."

Carl Vinson Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) gave Sailors the opportunity to experience many aspects of Korean life and culture through trips to locations including Beomeosa Temple, the Demilitarized Zone, and Seoul.

Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Aaron Hamilton, a Carl Vinson Sailor and MWR patron, said he enjoyed taking MWR trips because it allowed him to maximize his liberty while learning about the Republic of Korea.

"I enjoy MWR tours because of the chance to see places I would otherwise have no way of getting to," said Hamilton. "Going to the Demilitarized Zone and looking across the border is an experience I will never forget. I also learned many new things about the Republic of Korea which made this port visit very rewarding."

For more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has maintained a persistent naval presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific. The U.S. Navy is committed to continuing this forward presence, which is focused on stability, regional cooperation and economic prosperity for all nations. Carl Vinson has deployed to the region several times, starting with a deployment to the Western Pacific in 1983, a year after commissioning. Most recently in 2015, Carl Vinson conducted port visits and exercises with regional navies in the South China Sea.

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