BUSAN, Republic of Korea - USS Lassen (DDG 82) Sailors spent the second day of their Busan port visit building friendships with local residents during a community relations (COMREL) project and two sporting events Oct. 12.
The events took place at the Blue Bird Senior Citizens Health Center, where Sailors helped in the upkeep of the facility, interacted with the residents and took them on a walks around a nearby garden.
The center is home to 122 citizens aged 65 and over, who reside in the home for health reasons or for those who choose to live there as a retirement home.
Naval Aircrewman (Tactical Helicopter) 2nd Class Hadley Dykes, Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51, Detachment 1, said he enjoyed the experience and was happy to be part of the project.
"Some of the residents came in while we were cleaning, and I could tell they appreciated our efforts and the time we spent with them," said Dykes. "I enjoyed helping out and making new friends."
A handful of Sailors played basketball and soccer with Republic of Korea (ROK) navy sailors from ROKS Yi Sun Shin (DDH 975). After the games, the ROK sailors hosted a traditional barbecue.
Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Duy Do, USS Lassen soccer team captain, said he looked forward to playing a game of soccer with ROK sailors.
"We don't get much time to play when we're underway, so it is great when we get invited by our host country," he said. "It's great to share cultures."
Chief Gunner's Mate Bless Roberts, who coaches the basketball team, also enjoys the opportunity to play against Sailors from other navies.
"This is what my team yearns for, they ask for this," said Roberts. "It's great competition and great athletics. It's always about the sportsmanship and great camaraderie."
Lassen also hosted ship tours to more than 100 ROK sailors, including Rear Adm. Lee Bum Lim, commander, ROKN Maritime Task Flotilla 7; and Capt. Han Dong Jin, ROKS Yi Sun Shin commanding officer. ROKS Yi Sun Shin is Lassen's sister ship during the Proliferation Security Initiative Exercise, Eastern Endeavour 2010.
Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c7f/.