Seafarers Help Spread Goodwill in Korea

 

October 2015

 

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SIU members and officers aboard a pair of Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels recently played the role of goodwill ambassadors in the south Pacific. They hosted high-ranking military officers from the Republic of Korea (ROK) who toured the union-crewed USNS Montford Point and USNS Henson, respectively.

 

USNS Montford Point

Vice Adm. Hyun-Seong Um, commander, ROK Fleet, on Aug. 8 was welcomed aboard one of MSC’s newest class of Maritime Prepositioning Force ships, the USNS Montford Point. Operated for MSC by SIU-contracted Ocean Ships, Inc., the vessel boasts a mobile landing platform that can serve as a floating base for amphibious operations. It also has the capability to operate as a transfer point between large ships and small landing craft.

 

While aboard the vessel, the admiral received a guided tour. According to Navy Cmdr. Eric J. St. Peter, commanding officer, MSC Office Korea, MSC Far East, the tour consisted of a walk-through of the Montford Point’s landing craft air cushion deck, a visit to and presentation of the ballast control and the bridge, a video about the vessel, and meaningful discussions about the Navy’s sea-base concept.

 

St. Peter said these types of tours give U.S. forces in Korea an opportunity to build a stronger alliance with the commander of the ROK Fleet.

 

“Any time we have an opportunity to share information, I think we should. It promotes interoperability,” said St. Peter. “These types of tours and key-leader engagements are important because they help in sustaining and strengthening the ROK-U.S. combined forces alliance. We are stronger and better postured to deter external aggression and defend the Korean Peninsula when we are familiar with each other.”

 

According to Um, the Montford Point crew was working on behalf of Korea so the ROK Navy was very supportive and proud of the strong alliance. Additionally, Um, who travelled with a staff of other highranking officials, displayed great interest in the Montford Point for its “very interesting concepts.”

 

Seafarers aboard the vessel during the visit included Bosuns Kenneth Steiner and Timothy McHale; Able Seamen Stephen Amthuauer, Wiliam McIntyre, Timothy Heil, Harold Borden, Juan Machado-Lopez and Steven Corachan; and Ordinary Seamen Jon Sunga, Alan Bosier and Eric Lyons. Also aboard were QMEDs Michael Gray, Kenneth Lockhart, Jason Powell and Reylan Tendido; Deck/Engine Utility Clark Castrodes; Storekeeper Christopher Mayne; Steward/Baker Kimberly Strate; Chief Cook James Martin Jr.; and SAs Dennison Dizon and George Oliver.

 

USNS Henson

Senior Navy representatives from the ROK joined Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea during a Sept. 9 visit aboard the oceanographic survey ship USNS Henson. The purpose of the visit was to further foster the enduring U.S. and ROK partnership.

 

During the event, Capt. A.J. Reiss, commanding officer of the Naval Oceanic Office (NAVOCEANO), spoke about the importance of the ship’s name. Operated for MSC by SIU-contracted Maersk Line, Limited, the vessel is named after Matthew Henson. Widely recognized as the first African- American Arctic explorer, Henson is credited with assisting Robert Edwin Peary during his (claimed) discovery of the geographic North Pole in 1909.

 

Reiss also compared the teamwork of Peary’s historic expedition to the importance of the U.S. and ROK alliance. “It is fitting that tonight, aboard this ship, that we acknowledge our entire success depends upon an ever-loyal, tenacious, and persevering companionship with each other,” he said.

 

Kristin K. Mangold, the Henson’s captain, provided a tour of the bridge and explained the unique operating radars and navigational equipment aboard the Henson. Mangold said she viewed hosting senior ROK Navy officials as a sign of appreciation to the continued ROK support of the vessel’s mission.

 

SIU crew members aboard the Henson during the event were: Bosun Louis Sorito Jr., Able Seamen James Copeland, Algernon Reed and Neonito Sodusta; Ordinary Seamen Dean Crisostomo and Ricardo Dayrit; and QMEDs Latiffe Brooks and Noli Aguirre. Others aboard included Chief Steward/Baker Alphonzo Berry, Steward Assistant Donte Sawyer, MDR Brandon Maeda, Storekeeper Deanna Moore and GVAs Fidel Dipasupil and George Arcenal.

 

MSC operates approximately 115 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners. SIU members sail aboard many of those vessels.

 


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