Sailors celebrate Navy’s 241st birthday during gala in South Korea
Sailors stationed in Korea celebrated 241 years of Navy history Friday during the Navy Ball in Busan, South Korea.
The birthday party, which had a theme of “America’s Sailor: Tough, Bold and Ready,” drew 300 guests from throughout the peninsula, including Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert.
“Tonight, we come together to honor the men and women who have chosen to proudly wear the Navy uniform,” Cooper said in a statement Navy statement.
Lippert, a Naval Reserve officer, spoke about the service’s deep history.
“We have a rich and proud tradition of defending America and protecting American interests on the world’s oceans since 1775,” he said in the statement. “We were ready then, and we are ready now.”
The ambassador seized the opportunity to discuss the U.S.-South Korea alliance and its importance in the region.
“Our relationship has matured into a dynamic, strong and effective partnership that works collaboratively and cooperatively on a range of issues, not just on the Korean peninsula, but also in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world,” he said. “And although we continually do hard things together during this critical period, we have seen the popularity of the [U.S.-South Korean] relationship — among both Americans and Koreans alike — reach very high levels.”
Guests were treated to music from the South Korean navy band, traditional toasts and an official cake-cutting by U.S. and South Korean navy officials, along with help from the oldest and youngest sailors in attendance.
“[The cake-cutting] was a complete surprise,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Gambel, who added he was surprised to be the youngest sailor. “I had no idea what was going on but this entire night has been an amazing experience.”