BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson, visited Sailors and senior government and military officials during a visit to Seoul and Busan in the Republic of Korea (ROK) Dec. 14-16. He became the first-ever CNO to visit ROK Fleet headquarters in Busan.
The trip focused on letting ROK leaders know that they can always count on America’s Navy while thanking forward deployed Sailors for their important commitment to the alliance.
“I want you to know how aware I am of what you are doing out here,” Richardson told Sailors. “How important it is for us to maintain stability and keep things calm out here so we can continue to provide a sense of stability so that the United States and the Republic of Korea can prosper.”
Richardson held two all hands calls where he pinned newly warfare qualified Sailors and presented awards that recognized their hard work and dedication. He also opened up the floor for questions and discussed such topics as the future of the Navy’s Physical Fitness Program, future reductions in collateral duty requirements, and the results of the Comprehensive Review that was completed last month.
“You are out here, right on the cutting edge, the tip of the spear, doing important work out here and the nation’s proud of you,” said Richardson.
During his visit to Busan, Richardson toured CNFK, ROK Fleet headquarters and combined spaces to see firsthand the efforts that have strengthened the partnership between the two naval forces throughout the last year.
“The CNO being able to visit our spaces and see what we do isn’t just significant to my Sailors, it’s significant to everyone at CNFK,” said Chief Operations Specialist Roberto Orona, operations N3 leading chief petty officer. “I want my Sailors to see that the work they do is recognized and contributes to the greater mission of the Navy.”
Richardson also met with senior government and military officials including Hon. Marc Knapper, chargé d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander, U.S. Forces Korea, ROK Air Force Gen. Jeong, Kyeong-doo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ROK navy Adm. Um, Hyun-sung, ROK CNO, and Vice Adm. Jung, Jin-sup, commander, ROK Navy Fleet.
“Our alliance with the Republic of Korea is rock solid,” said Richardson. “This visit was an opportunity to reassure our allies that the U.S. Navy will continue to provide viable military options to support stability and security in the region.”
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 for the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.