Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Commander, Naval Forces Korea Sailors Honor Lost ROK Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brianna K. Dandridge, Commander, Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs

SEOUL, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors from Commander, Naval Forces Korea and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies honored Sailors lost on ROKN ship Cheonan (PCC-772) during a memorial and bell ringing ceremony April 20.

Cheonan sank March 26, 2010, in the Yellow Sea after being struck by a torpedo. The lives of 46 sailors onboard were lost along with Warrant Officer Han Jun-ho who died during subsequent rescue operations.

"We are here to honor and remember their service to the sea," said Rear Admiral Pete Gumataotao, Commander, Naval Forces Korea. "As we in the United States Navy will never forget the Sailors of USS Cole and USS Stark, we will never forget the Sailors of Cheonan."

The ceremony began with a brief invocation and speech by Lt. Chong-wook Kim, flag lieutenant to Gumataotao.

Kim served aboard Cheonan as weapons control officer in 2005 and expressed condolences for the 46 sailors, who went down with Cheonan.

"I was in deep grief before her shortly, tried to recollect the past time I had spent with her, and buried those beautiful memories within my heart forever," said Kim.

Taps were played and two bells were rung during the ceremony, to honor each of the servicemen who lost their lives while serving on Cheonan.

"Those who gave their self in service of their country will never be forgotten," said Gumataotao.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the Commander for the United Nations Command; the Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea. CNFK also serves as liaison to the ROK Navy and the Combined Forces Commander staff in armistice and in wartime to Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet; based in Yokosuka, Japan.

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