POHANG, Republic of Korea (August 3, 2018) — Sailors assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 Det. 3 and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy 631st Squadron joined forces for a combined community relations engagement, Aug. 3. Volunteers from both organizations assisted the Sunrin Aeyukown Orphanage with building clean up during their site renovations.
The orphanage, originally known as the “Marine Memorial Orphanage”, was founded in 1954 by the United States Marine Corps First Air Wing to care for orphans of the Korean War. It was later renamed Sunrin Aeyukown, or “House of Love” which is the name it goes by today.
“Our Korean partners and the entire Pohang community have shown nothing but the finest hospitality to Det. 3 during our time here,” observed Lt. Cmdr. Sean Rice, officer in charge, HSC-25 Det. 3. “This volunteer opportunity was a small way for us to show our immense gratitude and give back to the community which has welcomed us so openly.”
Damaged by an earthquake in 2017 the building has been undergoing repairs that required the children housed in other locations temporarily. The renovations to the orphanage’s main building are nearly complete and the combined volunteer team assisted with preparations for the children’s move back to the facility.
“It was really nice to learn about the history of the orphanage and the contributions from the Marine Corps and the Seabees,” said Aviation Electronic’s Mate First Class Rachel Reyes Spindola. “It was also rewarding to do a joint COMREL event with our Korean friends to help make a difference in the community.”
Orphanage staff welcomed the group with translation support from Warrant Officer Mkay Jeong, ROK Navy 631st Squadron. The combined teams assisted with tasks like cleaning the facility floor-by-floor to remove construction debris and cleaning the children’s toys.
Despite the cleaning in progress, several children continued to play in nearby rooms where they were joined by Sailors such as Naval Air Crewman Second Class Robert Washington who sat down to play a round of Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots.
“This has been a great experience in the Republic of Korea, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to build our relationship with the 631st through our COMREL with them,” said Washington. “Also, it’s always great to instill my Rock‘Em Sock‘Em prowess onto the children.”
HSC-25 Det. 3 is conducting joint training with the ROK Navy 631st Squadron to enhance interoperability and strengthen the U.S.-ROK alliance. HSC-25 provides a multi-mission rotary wing capability for units in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and maintains a Guam-based 24-hour search and rescue and medical evacuation capability, directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard and Joint Region Marianas. HSC-25 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnfk.
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