326th Communication Reconnaissance
APO 301, SF California
31 Jan 1953
Assembly of God Church
A truly unfortunate situation has come to my attention,
This morning Captain lcenhower asked me who was in charge of the orphanage
aid work done by this company, I informed him that while I was not in
charge of the work I was quite active in the project and could possibly
help him with what he wanted to know.
Captain lcenhower then informed me of his letter
to his parents requesting aid for the children supported by this company.
He went on to say that notwithstanding the fact that several packages
had arrived in this company from your church group an acknowledgement
of their arrival was never sent. This is truly unfortunate. At his request
I looked into the matter and promised him that I'd write to you today
giving a full report to you on the situation as I now see it.
First of all let me identify myself. I am a corporal
of the 326th Communication Reconnaissance Company. I arrived in the
company late in October and became active in the orphanage work during
the month of November.
Since I took over the post of corresponding secretary
of the orphanage Committee not a single package has been received that
has not been immediately acknowledged with a personal note, followed
up in a several weeks by a longer letter. I have sent out several hundred
photographs to people who wrote or sent packages.
Your packages must have arrived before I was in
a position to receive them and duly acknowledge their receipt. A former
sergeant of this company was taking care of the correspondence at that
time. He, it seems, was awaiting photographs to send you along with
his letter. As it turned out he transferred from the company before
accomplishing his intent in that direction. One of the other members
of the Orphanage Committee was approached by Captain Icenhower on the
matter. I checked with this corporal. He says that he wrote to your
church. I believe him. If he says he wrote he did so, but the letter
undoubtedly was either misaddressed or lost in the mails.
Do not think for a minute that I am trying to minimize
the seriousness of the situation as it now stands, Captain lcenhower
impressed on me the anxiety of your group, wondering whether the material
was ever received or whether it has been side-tracked to the black market.
Please rest assured of the fact that as the material has been received
in this company it went nowhere except directly to the children.
Please forgive us for our seemingly ungracious attitude.
To write a note acknowledging receipt of packages is one thing. To be
able to express the appreciation for the act of sending the aid is another.
To communicate through the medium of the written word that which is
desired to be expressed requires a person well versed in letters. Unfortunately
I do not find myself such a person but will nevertheless attempt to
express the emotions felt by the recipients of your kindness.
Appreciation? It's there. The last time I visited
the children at their new home it nearly caused a riot. It seems that
a class was going on when I entered the room. Immediately all those
children who knew me through the part I play on the orphanage committee
of this company, jumped from their seats and ran to me, they clung to
my legs, climbed up into my arms, hung around my neck, each one pushing
the other seeking my attention. I am but a "Middle man". It is you people
in the states who the children should hug and shower their affection
Do not think for a minute that the children or the
administrators of the orphanage where the children are located are crediting
any one of us GIs individually for the aid you are sending. It is the
generous, kind, warm hearted friends classed generally as Americans
that these children thank and will forever remember.
I do hope that we, as a unit, are forgiven and that
our combined effort to aid these children will continue. Not knowing
just how familiar you are with our orphanage aid I take the liberty
to quote excerpts from an article I wrote for my home town newspaper.
"Over a year ago our company
started supporting 55 children in an orphanage located next to our camp.
We fed and clothed them the best we could. Even so, we could not provide
the close attention needed to have them brought up properly. Since people
of responsibility could not be found to run the orphanage for us, we
moved the children to Seoul Sanitarium and Hospital Orphanage where
they were integrated into the larger household of over 200 children.
"Here are the true victims of
this war. Thirty percent have TB, numerous others are hospitalized with
communicable diseases. The most recent group to enter were twenty four
unfortunates suffering from malnutrition. They had been starving and
freezing in their small orphanage while the overseer was stealing the
money given by the government for their food! Now they are in good hands.
"Two Americans at the hospital,
Mrs. Rue, the director's wife and Miss Robson, the head nurse, have
accepted full responsibility for these derelicts in the sea of humanity.
"Some of the tots are brought
to the orphanage by people who found them living in caves, eking out
an existence by raiding garbage piles and begging. Others, new born,
were found in the gutters almost without life. The two American women
have taken on the orphanage as additional duties besides their running
the hospital, They are directly responsible for the raising and keeping
of the children but what a task! two people caring for 274 children!
"Our job has not been lightened
by turning our charges over to Mrs. Rue and Miss Robson. The contrary
is true. We now have 274 charges and they are all in dire need of our
assistance and all the help our friends at home can give us.
"Basic food staples are scarce,
powdered milk, chocolate, cereals, dried fruits and vegetables, all
are desperately needed. Outing flannel for infants clothes and corduroy
and other material for larger children's clothing is needed. Shoes of
all sizes, but especially for the smaller tots, are lacking. Some sort
of waterproof material for infants cribs is needed to protect bedding.
Hardly any of the children in the hospital with TB have pajamas and
such a thing as sheets for the beds is unheard of. And so goes the list."
Gratitude is the memory of the heart. Accepting
that as a basic truth then you can rest assured of long lived gratitude
since the tortures of hunger and want are not soon forgotten nor is
the person forgotten who eased such pains. These children will not remember
you as individuals but rather as American friends who helped them when
they were down and out. These friendships built on such a solid foundation,
will have lifelong repercussions on this nation, as it is the children
who will soon grow to be the moving forces here as elsewhere.
With the earnest desire to be of further service
to you I remain,
George F. Drake
Cpl. RA 12344689
Secty Orph Comm.