News: Marines reach out to local community
Story by Lance Cpl. Jennifer Pirante
CAMP MUJUK, South Korea — As U.S. Marines and Republic of Korea Armed Forces train together in the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2011 exercises, U.S. Marines and sailors have continued to show their commitment to being good neighbors through acts of friendship and kindness.
U.S. Marines, sailors and Republic of Korea marines participated in a friendship exchange at 1st ROK Marine Division Base March 11.
The Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2011 exercises are joint and combined military operations designed to improve and support the defenses of the Republic of Korea.
“We want to be a part of the community,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mark Tanis, Marine Wing Support Group 17 Chaplain. “It puts a positive face on our involvement here.”
Approximately 20 Marines were divided into three groups to visit with Korean Marines assigned to three ROK battalions.
This allowed the two counterparts to open up a line of communication, share and discuss common interests.
“It was really interesting for me because our lives are a little different,” said Cpl. Hyeon-sik Yun, infantryman with 1st ROK Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment. “But we are also very similar.”
ROK Marines also handed out drinks and snacks specific to their country, which helped to create a relaxed, social atmosphere.
“It’s good to get to know each other,” said Cpl. Urian Hahm, infantryman with ROK 1st Marine Division, 7th Marine Regiment. “If a real situation comes and we have to fight together, we will know each other. I think we need to have more of this kind of interaction.”
Lance Cpl. Radner Dennis, food service specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, firmly agreed.
“We’re allies, and we’re ready to back each other up anytime,” said Dennis. “If we keep this relationship going, we will be able to know how each force operates, and that would be great.”
Acts of kindness continued the following day when seven of the same U.S. Marines delivered toys to children at the Pohang St. Mary’s Hospital and two local after school centers.
The toys were donated from Toys for Tots.
Children’s faces lit up as each child was handed numerous dolls, stuffed animals, action figures and other toys.
Building positive relationships with the local hospital facilities is vital, since U.S. forces would be hospitalized there should they ever need care.
“These [community relations projects] also give the Marines a change to break up their routine,” said Tanis. “It’s something new for them to do and experience.”
As U.S. and ROK Marines gear up for exercise Foal Eagle 2011, U.S. Marines continue to establish positive community relations with future slated projects.