BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval Forces Korea commander joined his Korean counterpart to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War during a slate of ceremonies in Busan, June 25 and 26.
Rear Adm. Michael “Buzz” Donnelly, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and Vice Adm. Lee Jong Ho, commander, Republic of Korea (ROK) Fleet, marked the anniversary at a victory ceremony commemorating the Battle of Korea Strait on COMROKFLT naval base in Busan, June 26. Donnelly previously joined ROK Navy leadership at a memorial commemoration at the United Nations Cemetery and later at a memorial concert at the naval base, June 25.
Donnelly said the 70th anniversary marks a seven-decade strong strategic relationship that is as strong as it is enduring.
“This year, we commemorate an important milestone anniversary for the Republic of Korea and the United States, as well as the many sending state nations who joined together for a single cause and stood side-by-side with the ROK forces to fight back against the North Korean invaders,” Donnelly said. “The ironclad U.S.-ROK alliance was born in battle, strengthened in peace, and has been tied together in our shared history, standing in solidarity through the decades.”
The Battle of Korea Strait was the first naval battle of the Korean War. On the same day they crossed the 38th Parallel, the North Koreans attempted to invade the southern port city of Busan only to be spotted by the ROK navy submarine chaser ROKS Bak Du San. In the ensuing battle ROKS Bak Du San repelled the invasion and sank a North Korean vessel, scoring a significant early victory in the war and protecting a vital and strategic port.
“Seventy years ago today, unprovoked and hostile North Korean forces crossed the border and invaded the Republic of Korea,” Donnelly said. “The UN called its member nations to action to unite in defense of the besieged nation, and the world stepped forward to join the fight alongside our ROK brethren to save the peninsula and build not only a thriving democracy, but a strong bulwark against further regional aggression.”
Troops from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Sweden, South Africa, and the United Kingdom also fought in the Korean War.
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