The Life of a Transportation Liaison Petty Officer at Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea


Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Dong Lee, transportation and liaison petty officer assigned to the staff of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), is instrumental to the supply department’s success in executing their most challenging duty – supporting the commander and his staff in a remote, overseas location. Since his arrival to the peninsula in December 2011, Lee has taken a proactive approach to building relationships across the peninsula with Joint commands led by U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force units, as well as the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy. His efforts serve to strengthen the alliance between the two countries and ensure CNFK meets mission requirements, despite not having a large U.S. logistics facility in the region.

As a multi-linguist, he is the consummate logistics specialist. His expertise is vital to execution of the command’s mission to strengthen collective security efforts in the region. Lee is directly responsible for coordinating the lodging reservations for over 400 exercise participants from five different commands during two annual, peninsula-wide combined exercises: Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian. In 2017, he spearheaded the lodging and transportation logistics plan for over 40 senior enlisted leaders who participated in the second Annual U.S./ROK Senior Enlisted Leadership Development Symposium.

Lee was hand-picked to be the command’s transportation specialist due to his dedication and attention to detail. He devoted over 70 off-duty hours to distinguished visitor support for visits from Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Commander, United States Forces Korea; Commander, 7th Fleet; Commander, Navy Installations Command; Chief of Chaplain Corps; Chief Judge Advocate General; and multiple Combined Task Force commands. His fluency in the Korean language made him an asset to distinguished visitors as a translator when he escorted them to various meetings throughout the peninsula.

In 2016, CNFK relocated its headquarters from Yongsan Army Base in Seoul to ROK Naval Headquarters in Busan. Over a two-week period, his precise planning and execution ensured the safe movement of over 50 personnel and their families, along with support equipment, furniture, and 24 vehicles from Seoul to Busan. This strategic move significantly strengthened the relationship between U.S. and ROK Navy.

Additionally, while serving on the Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee, Lee was instrumental to the success of the first combined command summer picnic attended by over 200 CNFK and Commander, ROK Fleet Sailors and their families. This event included activities for attendees of all ages and was well received by our Korean counterparts.

In his off-duty time, he gives back to the local community as a volunteer English teacher to 40 high school students in Busan City and organizes dozens of sports events for CNFK Sailors and families.

As an outstanding young petty officer with unlimited potential, Lee is a force multiplier who has made an invaluable, positive impact on this command. Subsequently, he has received numerous awards from both CNFK and the ROK Navy during his tour.

“It was my great pleasure being a part of CNFK because our mission in Korea is the most crucial expedition to maintain the placid relationship between ROK and U.S.,” said Lee. “I am honored to be part of this mission.”

November/December 2017