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BUSAN, Republic of Korea - The commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet visited South Korea June 15-18, to meet with senior U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) leaders, and express his support for Sailors and the U.S. Navy mission in Korea.
During his visit Swift met with U.S. Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea; ROK Army Gen. Kim, Hyun-Jip, deputy commander of the Combined Forces Command; and Adm. Jung, Ho-sub, ROK chief of naval operations.
Swift also met with Vice Adm. Um, Hyun Sung, ROK vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired Adm. Park, In-Yong, the director of the ROK National Safety Commission; and Dr. Hwang, In-Moo, the vice minister of ROK National Defense.
“It has been a whirlwind visit with a lot of events,” said Swift, “but it is important that our [U.S. and ROK] relationship remains strong. Candid conversation among friends is critical to any good relationship, and I am confident that our bond is tighter now than it has ever been.”
During his visit, Swift also met with Sailors in Seoul, Chinhae, and Busan, the new home for the U.S. Navy in Korea, where he toured Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea’s headquarters.
“I think it is important that you are here in Busan because now you are much closer to the ROK Fleet,” Swift said during his tour of CNFK. “Both navies work so much with one another throughout the year that it just makes sense for you to be here. I think this move only strengthens the alliance.”
Swift had another opportunity to meet and speak with Sailors during a lunch and all-hands call at Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC), the only U.S. Navy installation in the ROK.
After being introduced by Cmdr. Terry McNamara, CFAC’s commanding officer, Swift spoke about the importance of the Navy mission in Korea, thanked the Sailors and civilians present for their service, and emphasized his philosophy of ‘People first, Mission always.'
“When I was a junior officer I always heard that people were our most valuable asset, but then I would see and hear things that were contrary to that,” said Swift. “Even today, when we say ‘Mission First, Sailors Always’ we are putting our people second, so I say ‘People First' because if we don’t take care of our people [Sailors and civilians alike], then we will not be able to accomplish any mission. If we do care for our people, like most leaders today are doing, then the mission will take care of itself.”
After the town-hall, Swift traveled to the ROK Naval Academy here he spoke to more than 140 Midshipmen and spoke on topics ranging from bilateral exercises, deterring North Korea, and offered his opinion on how to be a successful naval leader.
This visit was the second time Swift visited Korea since assuming command of U.S. Pacific Fleet, which is the world's largest fleet command and encompasses 100 million square miles, more than half the Earth's surface, from the West Coast of the United Sates into the Indian Ocean. The Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 180 ships, nearly 2,000 aircraft and 140,000 Sailors and civilians.
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, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea.