BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Aug. 25, 2011) Republic of Korea navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan, right, presents the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit Gugseon Medal to Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, center, at an award’s ceremony on board the Republic of Korea navy amphibious ship ROKS Dokdo (LPH 6111). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth R. Hendrix)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) - The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet received the Republic of Korea's (ROK) Order of National Security Merit Gugseon Medal Aug. 25 for his contributions to strengthening the partnership between the U.S. and ROK as well as maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"I have seen the professionalism of the ROK Sailors and I have been honored to serve alongside such a world-class navy," said Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk. "It is a great honor, and I am very proud to receive this award."

The ROK Navy's Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Kim Sung-chan bestowed the medal to Van Buskirk at a ceremony held aboard Republic of Korea ship Dokdo (LPH 6111), in the port city of Busan.

"Vice Admiral Van Buskirk, during his time as [U.S.] 7th Fleet Commander, has strengthened an already strong alliance between our two nations," said Kim. "We will always remember you as a fellow Sailor and friend."

The medal honors Van Buskirk's actions during times of tension on the Korean peninsula. Van Buskirk ordered the dispatch of the George Washington Strike Group to the peninsula to strengthen U.S. and ROK forces' during the Yeonpyeong Island incident in 2010.

"I am very pleased to present the Gugseon award on behalf of the Republic of Korea," said Kim. "I would like to thank you for your efforts on behalf of the ROK and U.S. security alliance."

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