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(22 January 1954)
Fifth Air Force Supports Orphanages

FIFTH AIR FORCE, KOREA --- Total voluntary contributions by officers and airmen to Korean orphanages and schools reached $206,759.86 by the end of 1953, Fifth Air Force has reported.

The money, which was used for constructing and rehabilitating orphanages and schools and providing equipment, clothing, food and other necessities, more than matched the $150,000 in surplus supplies and equipment allotted the Fifth Air Force in the first phase of the Armed Forces Assistance to Korea Program.

In addition to the money, Fifth Air Force personnel also provided the orphans with 210,000 pounds of used clothing, much of it coming from their relatives and friends in the United States.

The Fifth's units supported 86 orphanages and approximately 8,500 youngsters during the past year. Average donation to each orphanage was about $2,300 and 2,442 pounds of clothing.

Over half the aid was contributed by the chaplain's fund free collections taken weekly at religious services. In addition, the chaplain's program furnished 56,000 pounds of clothes, 21 sewing machines, five car loads of lumber, eight loads of wood, 100 pounds of athletic equipment, eight bicycles, 2,958 pounds of food, eleven crates of medicines and assorted school supplies and kitchen equipment.

The Fifth Air Force's aid to Korean orphans reached its high point during the Yuletide season when over 8,000 youngsters from 86 orphanages were entertained at Christmas parties. Over $46,000 and 100,000 pounds of clothes were donated for these parties in addition to food, candy, toys and school supplies.

More important contributions, however, were the construction and rehabilitation of schools and orphanages. The 3rd Bombardment Wing, for example, found 80 children living in a cave on a Korean hillside last spring and promptly raised enough money to build a six-unit orphanage for the youngsters. The children moved into the new buildings by the end of the year. The men also raised $10,000 to build a new home for the children of St. Margaret's Orphanage.

The airmen of the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing provided materials and finances for a new eight-room country school house near Osan for 280 Korean grammar school children. While Korean builders speeded the construction of the new building, men of the 18th Wing utilized their off-duty time in the base hobby shop making 90 double desks and 140 double seats needed for the students.

For some Fifth Air Force units, sponsorship of an orphanage has been a longtime proposition. The 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, for example, began supporting the 300 children of the Yong Joo Jaho Orphanage over two years ago when its pilots began destroying Russian-built MIGs in the skies over North Korea.

Medical assistance has been important, too. Fifth Air Force medical officers have supervised and assisted in medical programs at the orphanages during their off-duty hours. In some instances, Korean doctors have been employed by the airmen to provide necessary medical aid for the youngsters.

At Taegu, a project is in progress whereby 300 children of the White Lily Orphanage are being inoculated with a combination typhus, diphtheria, and whooping cough serum. Each child has received three inoculations at two-week intervals. The serum was donated by the American Women Voluntary Services, San Gabriel El Serene Unit, Los Angeles, Cal.

In these ventures many airmen have received help from friends, relatives and organizations in the United States. Several U.S. newspapers have conducted public campaigns for clothing and funds. Unit mailrooms receive bundles daily containing clothing and other items for the orphans. Many of these are not recorded in the official logs of contributions made since they are distributed personally by the airmen receiving them.

The following letter from the officers and men of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing reveals the emphasis the Fifth Air Force airmen are placing on the aid-to-orphans program in Korea.

"The problem looks pretty hopeless when you think of the thousands of these homeless orphans in Korea today, but we're doing what we can here at the 67th. Not just at Christmas time...it's a year round thing with us. The Bupyong Orphanage at Ascom City, Oryu at Oryudong, New Hope at Yong Dong Po, Colomba in Seoul, the Christian Mission Orphanage also in Seoul, the school and church at Soss, the Kwahairi Church near Kimpo, all are supported wholly or in part, by the men of our wing.

"Strange names most of them, not at all like Detroit, or Dallas, or Des Moines, but these kids aren't any different, really, from those back home...except that they need our help. And we've been giving it for a long time, since we came here.

"We are making little progress, too. Here are some of the figures: To Bupyong Orphanage, 3,000 pounds of clothing and $900, all in the last year; to Oryu Orphanage, 1,500 pounds of clothing and $750; to the Columba Orphanage 2,500 pounds of clothing and $28,255 in the last six months; 300 pounds of clothing to Sosa; $700 to Kwahairi church, and there is more on the way to these needy organizations each day.

"We have seen windows installed in schools, heaters and desks in the rooms, books brought from Japan, and countless smaller improvements. Maybe the buildings aren't too modern, not an architect's dream, but they're warm and clean. The clothes we give probably aren't what a Korean mother would pick for her boy or girl, but a Lone Ranger sweater keeps them warm when there's no Mama-san to make their clothing for them. They can go to school now and learn all the necessary things they'll need to know to help rebuild their country...so they will have a future instead of a past...so they can be part of the culture of a new Korea, strong and healthy instead of homeless, starving wanderers."

All contributions are voluntary. The general attitude of the airmen was expressed by one staff sergeant, who said:

"Sure, we gripe occasionally, just like in the States, when the collections and pleas are made. But that's only on the surface. Actually, none of us minds giving a buck or so every now and then, when we stop to realize the good the money does and how it saves these children from the awful future facing them in this devastated country."

Many of the collections, however, are organized and made by the airmen themselves.

The airmen's attitude was expressed by one wing which made a New Year's resolution that "we're going to keep right on helping these orphanages and schools so that those kids have a chance to develop normally."


APO 925




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