By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cole C. Pielop
BUSAN, Republic of Korea – Sailors from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 visited Bunpo High School in Busan, Republic of Korea, during a community service (COMSERV) project, March 16.
The day started with an introduction to the school’s history and customs followed by a traditional Korean lunch. After eating, students gave Sailors a tour of the school and showed them some of the classes offered.
“I didn’t know how the students were going to react having us in their school or if they would even be interested,” said Airman Joseph Smith, from Coloma, Mich. “The students were so polite and hospitable. They were so kind and courteous in everything they did. It’s exactly how I wish it was in every school. It was just unbelievable.”
Once the tour was over, Sailors and students competed in both a soccer and basketball game. The bleachers were packed with students wanting to see what the Sailors could bring to the soccer field.
“I started off on goalie,” said Personnel Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jonathan Nagra, from Joliet, Ill. “I thought it was going to be a simple pick-up game of soccer, but I was wrong. They were much better than us, but we tried and still had such a good time.”
Bunpo students scored the first goal in the game’s first 15 seconds. The friendly match ended with a final score of 6-1 in favor of the students.
After the game, Sailors split up to attend different classes held at the school such as English culture, Korean drumming and traditional art.
“I went to the English culture class,” said Smith. “All of the students and even the teachers were so interested in what our hobbies were and what we did for a job. We showed them videos of the flight deck and they absolutely loved it.”
Sailors and students took pictures and shook hands before loading up on the bus.
“It was such a humbling experience,” said Smith. “If I had the chance to go back again, I’d go any day of the week.”
COMSERVs, like the school visit, help foster communication and understanding between U.S. military members and civilian communities.
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, John C. Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.