S. Korean training ships visit Guam
GUAM — About 30 members of Guam’s Korean community, including South Korea’s consul general to Guam, Byung Kuck Jhung, got a taste of home this week when the visiting Republic of Korea Navy destroyer Yangmanchoon hosted them during a ceremony Sunday morning.
The ship, with mine laying ship Wonsan and supply ship Hwachoen, were on Guam for their 10th and final stop of a 99-day training cruise that’s to have covered more than 21,000 miles.
“Guam is strategically a very critical area as far as the military is concerned,” said Rear Adm. Sung-Gyue Oh, commander of the Cruise Training Force, speaking through an interpreter. “It’s close to Korea and many Korean immigrants have come to here to live. It’s very meaningful for us to visit Guam.”
Crewmembers, including 175 midshipmen, took part in activities at every port visit, including the commemoration of the 140th anniversary of Korean immigration to Russia in Vladivostok, a similar 100th anniversary celebration in Mexico and a multicultural fair in Los Angeles.
“Our mission and concern is to encourage the Korean immigrant societies and also through diplomatic military relations to build friendship with visiting countries,” said Oh.
On Guam, Oh and his staff paid courtesy visits to Rear Adm. Arthur J. Johnson, commander, Naval Forces Marianas; and Guam Governor Felix Camacho. They also held a brief wreath-laying ceremony at Guam’s Korean War Memorial in Hagatna. Members of the local community, including the Korean Association of Guam, toured the ships and attended a reception hosted by Oh.
The ships were to depart Guam on Thursday, arriving in South Korea on Dec. 29. Upon their return, the midshipmen are to be commissioned.
“It’s an important part of our program to raise our young generation in response to the strategic changes and concerns of the U.S.,” Oh said. “This is why we visited the different places to study and give them insight into world affairs.”