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A 23-year-old sailor from the USS Ronald Reagan was arrested Thursday morning after breaking the windows on a private home and the sunroofs of two cars parked nearby, a Busan Haeundae police spokesman said.

The sailor was drunk during the 12:30 a.m. incident in a neighborhood near Busan’s Haeundae beach, the spokesman said.

The sailor was released after being questioned, and was allowed to leave South Korea with the aircraft carrier Friday morning after reaching a financial settlement with the homeowner and two car owners, he said.

Lt. Ron Flanders, spokesman for the aircraft carrier, said the sailor is a second class petty officer assigned to a helicopter anti-submarine squadron. He did not provide the sailor’s name, but said he injured his ankle during the incident and was treated at a local hospital and is now being treated aboard the ship.

The sailor paid the car owners 30,000 won each, or almost $30, and 230,000 won, or about $227, to the homeowner. He issued a formal apology to all three.

Flanders said the Reagan’s sailors are "excellent" ambassadors for their country, and 240 of the 5,000 Reagan sailors in Busan for last week’s port visit did volunteer work.

"At each stop on this deployment, business, community and government leaders have praised our sailors to their leadership for their exemplary behavior," he said.

He said all crewmembers were trained before their arrival on standards of conduct expected in South Korea. The Reagan was in Busan July 14-18 for a routine port visit during a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific.

The sailor is expected to return to his duties on the ship, and could face punishment pending the outcome of an investigation into the event.

Despite the incident, local officials were pleased with the port visit, citing visits to orphanages and nursing homes by sailors, and the boost to the economy.

U.S. sailors help Busan’s economy by shopping, eating at local restaurants and staying at hotels — especially welcome during an economic downturn, said Lee Dae-woo, the city’s international affairs liaison officer.

"The positive points of their visiting Busan outweigh the negatives," he said.

He didn’t know how much money sailors spend in Busan, but he said some local press reports have said sailors add 6 billion won, or about $5.9 million, to the city’s economy.

In March, the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency distributed 6,000 copies of a guide telling its officers how to respond to crimes committed by U.S. sailors.

A police spokesman said Busan’s police commissioner suggested distributing the guide because more sailors are coming to the city, not because of a specific incident.

A crew member of the submarine USS Chicago was accused in November of crashing a stolen vehicle in Chinhae while drunk. South Korean officials expedited the case, letting the sailor pay more than $10,000 in restitution.


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