By Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Korea Public Affairs
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Korea joined more than 300 military and civilian guests in a celebration of the U.S. Navy's 240th birthday during a reception in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Oct. 10.
Every year, U.S. Navy commands across the world celebrate the birth of the Navy when, on Oct. 13, 1775, the Continental Congress approved legislation for two vessels to be equipped and armed with 10 carriage guns as well as crews of 80 Sailors charged with intercepting transport ships carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America.
The celebration, held in Busan for the first time since CNFK shifted its headquarters from Seoul in order to support a closer relationship with the ROK Navy, featured speeches by the evening's host, Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander of CNFK, and the guest speaker, Vice Adm. Um, Hyung-Seong, the commander of the ROK Fleet.
"Tonight we come together to honor the men and women who have chosen to proudly wear the Navy uniform," said Byrne. "For 240 years we have been there when it mattered, where it mattered, around the world and around the clock."
Byrne also made note of Korea's naval history and the importance of a strong U.S. and ROK alliance.
"We are joined tonight in our celebration by our esteemed ROK Navy partners and it is not lost on me that, while we celebrate over 200 years as a maritime nation, our Korean partners look back proudly at over 2,000 years," said Byrne. "As a nation built upon the water, the Republic of Korea shares our values and understands the importance a strong Navy plays in national security and regional stability."
During his remarks, Um reinforced the importance of the alliance and praised the heritage of the U.S. Navy.
"It has been an honor to work alongside the U.S. Navy, who has such a rich sense of heritage and continues to provide dedication and display professionalism here in the Republic of Korea," said Um.
The celebration concluded with Byrne echoing the sentiment heard during the recorded Navy Birthday message from the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. John Richardson.
"The CNO's message was very clear," said Byrne. "While the ships, submarines, and aircraft make up the muscle and bones of our Navy, you make up the heart and soul. I thank you for everything you've done, everything you continue to do, and everything you're going to do."
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.