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The small but robust U.S. Navy community in South Korea will get an early start on celebrating the service’s 229th birthday, hosting a series of events in Seoul and at Fleet Activities Chinhae.

The highlight of the weekend will be the Navy Birthday Ball, Saturday night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul. Bookending the weekend will be a pair of all-hands meetings with Barney Barnum, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (Reserve affairs).

The first all-hands call was scheduled for Friday afternoon at Yongsan Garrison, said Lt. Cmdr. K.C. Marshall, U.S. Naval Forces Korea spokesman. The second meeting is scheduled for 10:40 a.m. Tuesday at Turtle Cove in Chinhae.

Both meetings are open to all Navy and Marine Corps personnel in South Korea.

During the Chinhae all-hands call, officials said, Barnum will present the base with the Admiral Zumwalt award for Navy housing excellence in its size category. Chinhae is a small, hilly 90-acre base that swells in population during annual exercises, when troops and equipment from throughout the region pour into the port.

In addition to the meetings and birthday ball, Marshall said, the weekend will feature several performances by the 7th Fleet Band. One performance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday at the Chinhae pavilion; the band also is scheduled to perform at the birthday ball.

Barnum, a Marine Corps officer for 28 years, was the fourth Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.

According to the official citation, then-Lt. Barnum was an artilleryman with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines in Quang Tin. He braved enemy fire on open ground to direct artillery strikes on enemy positions, assumed command of a Marine rifle company when he found their commander mortally wounded and led a counterattack against enemy firing positions, the citation reads.

Barnum’s other decorations include the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” Purple Heart, Legion of Merit and Defense Superior Service Medal.

In 1972, the Navy set its official birthdate as Oct. 13 to coincide with the date in 1775 when Congress passed legislation authorizing the nation’s first two warships, according to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Historical Center.


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