US, Republic of Korea Sailors Work Together to Help Children

Story Number: NNS080721-08Release Date: 7/21/2008 4:41:00 PM
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By Ens. Kristi Coonfare, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Twenty Sailors from USS Howard (DDG 83) visited a children's home July 17 in Chinhae, Republic of Korea, with 25 Sailors from the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), continuing a decade-long tradition of U.S. Navy ships supporting the home.

The Heemong Home for Children, also known as Hope Home, is an orphanage for 70 Korean children. U.S. and ROK Sailors joined hands to help clean the yard and beautify the orphanage's grounds. Using shovels, hedge-trimmers and rakes, the Sailors teamed up to upgrade the orphanage's landscape.

Hope Home and the Navy have a 63-year-old history. Plaques from U.S. Navy ships and submarines dating back to the Korean War are hung on walls throughout the home.

"For as long as the Hope Home has been here, the U.S. Navy has been here helping," said Lee Kyung-Min, Hope Home's director, while thanking Howard crew members.

Switching between the Korean language and English for both Korean and American naval personnel present, Lee told several stories that described how the U.S. Navy and the ROK Navy had a long history of working closely together to help others.

Howard Sailors were pleased they had the chance to be a part of the service project.

"It was great to help the Heemong Home and show the humanitarian side of the Navy," said Ens. Jessica Kels, a Howard crew member from San Diego. "It was also a great opportunity to work with the ROK sailors."

After the project was complete Howard Sailors invited the ROK sailors back to the ship for a tour and a good meal.

"Working with the ROK sailors at the orphanage, and having the opportunity to show them our ship and eat dinner with them was a great experience," said Operations Specialist 2nd Class Eric Peoples from Barstow, Calif. "They seemed to really enjoy our pot roast, mashed potatoes and apple pie."

Chinhae was the first port of call for Howard in the Republic of Korea during its current deployment with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group. The ship arrived July 14 and departed July 18.

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