BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Oct. 2, 2011) Korean visitors tour the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) during a public event in support of the Republic of Korea's Armed Forces Day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman William P. Gatlin)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) - USS George Washington (CVN 73) welcomed more than 2,600 visitors during a public visiting event while in port Busan, Republic of Korea Oct. 1.

The event was part of the Republic of Korea's (ROK) "Armed Forces Day" celebration, a day dedicated to recognizing and honoring the military forces of the Republic of Korea, similar to the holiday of the same name celebrated in the United States. George Washington, along with other U.S. and ROK ships, participated in the event.

Visitors were welcomed into the hangar bay of the Navy's only full-time forward-deployed nuclear-powered aircraft carrier where damage control, medical, and aviation ordnance displays were set up along with a helicopter on static display. Once they completed that portion of the rotation, visitors enjoyed a ride on an aircraft elevator up to the flight deck where aircraft representing all of George Washington's missions were on display including F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, EA-6B Prowlers, E-2C Hawkeyes and various helicopters.

The event offered an up-close view of military hardware, and more importantly, an opportunity to meet U.S. Navy Sailors. Dozens of Sailors from various job backgrounds mingled with guests to answers questions or pose for photos.

"This open house really goes a long way in strengthening the relationship between our countries and our already great alliance," said Lt. j.g. Arnold M. Luminaries, the sales officer aboard George Washington.

This was George Washington's second time in Busan, but the first that the ship has ever been open to the public. It was an opportunity not lost on Koreans, both civilian and military.

"For Koreans, it's a rare chance to be on a carrier like this," said Seaman Han Jang, a sailor in the ROK navy. "It was wonderful seeing everything on the ship."

Coordinating and setting up an event like this is what symbolizes the main theme between the ROK and U.S. navies, said Jang.

"We always work hard together at sea and it was nice to come here and visit," Jang said.

While George Washington Sailors have participated in a variety of service projects throughout their visit to Busan, the open house was another successful way to strengthen the relationship with the community.

George Washington departed its forward-deployed base of Yokosuka, Japan, on Sept. 19. The ship last visited Busan July 2010.