U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) senior enlisted leaders have a photo taken together during a Combined Joint Senior Enlisted Leaders Symposium on the ROK Fleet Base in Busan. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Wesley J. Breedlove)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, (CNFK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Fleet co-hosted a combined and joint senior enlisted leader symposium in Busan, July 22-23.

Thirty-two U.S. and ROK Navy and Marine Corps leaders met to strengthen the U.S. and ROK partnership by discussing shared leadership principles including ways each service can improve Sailor's and Marines' quality of life.

"It is meaningful that we gather together and discuss how we can improve our navies," said ROK Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Kim Cheon-Yong. "Because we [master chiefs] are the 'mother of the unit,' we must watch over and protect our people."

U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Susan A. Whitman echoed Kim's sentiment and said she thinks taking care of Sailors is the primary responsibility of any chief petty officer.

"The bottom line in leadership is to be where it matters, any place and anytime to take care of your Sailors," said Whitman, "because without them, our ships would be tied to piers and not out to sea, and our aircraft would be grounded."

Command Master Chief Christopher Stone, CNFK's command master chief and one of the co-hosts of the symposium, said he was thrilled with the turnout and results of the discussion.

"It was very successful," said Stone. "As a group, we discussed issues relevant to both navies and the open conversations strengthened our already strong working partnership. This symposium sends a message about the importance of professional development at the senior enlisted level, and I am looking forward to next year."

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the commander of the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.