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
"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
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."
FAR EAST AIR FORCE