The U.S. Navy representative in South Korea officially opened its headquarters in Busan, Korea on February 19.
Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and thereby marked the start of what the U.S. Navy called “a new era of U.S. and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) alliance”.
The ceremony, attended by dignitaries and senior U.S. and ROK military leaders, marked the completion of CNFK’s relocation to Busan making it the only U.S. military headquarters in Korea located on a ROK base.
Rear Admiral Bill Byrne, commander of CNFK, said: “Five years in the planning, but 59 years in the making, Commander Naval Forces Korea is home in Busan. We are where we belong, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Republic of Korea Navy.”
The relocation from Seoul to Busan enhances the alliance between the ROK and U.S. navies by enabling closer collaboration and communication and reinforces the strong relationship between the partner navies.
ROKN Vice Admiral Lee Ki-sik, commander of the ROK fleet in Busan, highlighted the importance of the partnership and the role this move will play in future operations.
“There is no doubt in my mind that by working together, face-to-face, in the same location in such critical times, we will further solidify the ROK and U.S. alliance, and our combined naval operations capability,” said Lee. “This move will play a crucial role in the ROK-U.S. alliance’s maintenance of peace on the Korean peninsula.”
U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert closed the ceremony by stressing CNFK personnel were now part of the Busan community and echoed the overall sentiment that Busan is the new home for the U.S. Navy in Korea.
CNFK is the regional commander for the U.S. Navy in the Republic of Korea and provides expertise on naval matters to area military commanders, including the Commander of the United Nations Command, the Combined Forces Command, and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea.