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Gainey Visits Sole U.S. Navy Base in Korea

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2006 – Fleet Activities Chinhae, the only Navy installation in Korea, sits at the southern tip of the country, apart from other U.S. military installations, and doesn't get many visitors.

Today, however, the 400 sailors, family members and civilians who call Chinhae home received a welcome visitor in Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gainey stopped here during his week-long tour of military installations in Korea.

"What you're doing here is helping to keep a country stabilized," Gainey told a group of Chinhae sailors during his visit. "You need to be proud of what you're doing. You're just as much in the fight as anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan."

Chinhae is an 86-acre installation that provides fleet support to six ports across Korea, said Navy Cmdr. Brett Foster, chief staff officer. The base also hosts exercises and includes 10 tenant activities, such as an Army communications detachment, a health clinic, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Foster said.

Foster said that Chinhae is already a safe, nice place for sailors to be stationed and, unlike other U.S. military installations in Korea, it is going to be growing in the coming years. Planned projects include an expansion of the youth center, new barracks and a new medical facility. "This is a place that's got a future, and things are growing and happening here," he said.

During his visit, Gainey toured the post, making stops at the barracks, the dining facility and the headquarters building. He spoke to sailors throughout his visit, always emphasizing leadership and the importance of cooperation between the services. "No matter who you are or what uniform you wear, you can share your pride with each other," he said.

Gainey shared with the sailors his philosophy on leadership. Young servicemembers want their leaders to respect them enough to give them responsibility, but to also give them authority in that responsibility, hold them accountable for their actions -- both good and bad -- and assist them when they stumble, he said.

Before coming to Chinhae, Gainey also visited Marines and sailors at U.S. Naval Forces Korea Detachment Pohang, another remote installation. Gainey explained to them his role as the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and asked them to remember the value of their military service. "You're doing a good job; you should be very proud of yourselves," he said.

Visits from senior leaders like Gainey are always nice, because they show servicemembers how much their leaders care, said Marine Sgt. Evan Kramer, who was part of the group visiting with Gainey at Pohang.

"It's kind of nice to actually see our senior advisors get out and let small groups of Marines interact with them, especially here in Pohang because we're so isolated," he said.

Traveling with Gainey on his Korea trip is country music artist Michael Peterson. Peterson has never served in the military, but said he felt compelled to do what he could to express his gratitude and support to the troops. "I'm here to let you know that you're not alone, and you don't stand alone," Peterson told a group of troops today. "You are making a difference. You are bringing freedom and helping to bring freedom and protect freedom for people who have never known that."

Gainey's trip will continue tomorrow with visits to Air Force units in Osan.

Contact Author

Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, USA

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