CFAC opens doors during Cherry Blossom Festival

by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Wesley J. Breedlove, Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Commander, Fleet Activities (CFAC) Chinhae held an open base event April 8 for the local Chinhae community as part of the annual week-long Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating the 472nd birthday of Korean naval leader, Adm. Yi Sun-sin.

The event gave visitors the opportunity to engage with U.S. Sailors, tour Fleet Activities Chinhae, the only U.S. Navy installation on the mainland of Asia; indulge in American-style food; and participate in family-friendly activities.

"I love opening up the base for our Korean friends and neighbors," said Command Senior Chief Ryan Colosimo. "For them to show up and walk down our streets and see our houses and buildings and interact with our people is so meaningful, and goes a long way in strengthening our relationship."

The US Navy's Chinhae Sailors also marched in the Adm. Yi Sun-sin Victory Parade alongside Republic of Korea (ROK) Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines April 7. Thousands of residents and tourists filled the streets of Chinhae to view the parade, which celebrates Yi's undefeated series of naval victories during the 16th century.

After the parade, service members visited Admiral Yi's statue located in a newly renovated plaza near the base, while Cmdr. Terry P. McNamara, Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae, took part in a nearby Tea and Flower Dedication Ceremony with local civic and military leaders.

"Our annual participation in the festival, culminating with our opening of the base, is a great opportunity for us to give back to the community," said McNamara. "Between the parade, the dedication ceremony, and open base event, this week has been a great way to commemorate Adm. Yi, and strengthen our bond with the community. It could not have gone any better."

The Jinhae Gunhangje, which translates as "Naval Port Festival," was originally founded in 1963 to commemorate Adm. Yi Sun-sin. Over the last 55 years it has evolved into a cultural celebration centered around an estimated 360,000 cherry trees that bloom each year throughout the city.

Fleet Activities Chinhae is the only U.S. Navy installation in Korea peninsula, providing leadership and expertise in naval matters to improve institutional and operational effectiveness between the U.S. and ROK navies and to strengthen collective security efforts in Korea and the region.

For more news from Commander, Fleet Activities Chinhae, visit www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnfk/installations/cfa_chinhae.html

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnfk/.

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