(4 Jun 1952)
COMBAT CARGO, KOREA --- "Charley's my
boy," said 19-year-old A/1C Robert E. Neal, 612 Malvern Ave.,
Middletown, Ohio. Airman Neal is a Fifth Air Force headquarters
driver for the Protocol Section.
Charley is an 8-year-old Korean orphan adopted
by the young airman. "Some friends of mine found the
little tyke sleeping under a piece of canvas along the Han River,"
he said, "and they brought him to our barracks to give him
a square meal. My heart went out to him immediately, and
I asked him if he would like to stay with me and be my boy.
He spoke a little English, and told me haltingly that he liked
me. So Charley moved in my room with me."
For three month, Airman Neal and Charley grew
to know each other better. The warm-hearted airman bought
shoes, clothing and toys for the little Korean tot. Most
of Charley's meals were eaten in the dinning hall, where the other
airmen quickly got acquainted with the winsome kid. Charley's
English vocabulary increased by leaps and bound, and although
never loquacious, he soon became able to express himself intelligently
and to understand almost everything Airman Neal said to him.
"I don't have to speak pidgin English
to Charley," says the airman. "I talk to him like I
would to any American boy. I don't think of him as an Oriental
boy - I just think of him as my boy. He knows American slang
But Airman Neal realized that he could not
provide for Charley adequately because of the press of duties
at Fifth Air Force Headquarters, a bustling place of activity.
Then too, he knew it probably would be impossible to take the
boy back to the States.
So, reluctantly, Airman Neal turned the boy
over to an orphanage at Seoul, Korea, where Charley is receiving
expert, full-time care.
Airman Neal visits Charley regularly, and the
little boy is always waiting near the gate with open arms.
Airman Neal sees that Charley is kept properly clothed and that
he has other things to make him comfortable.
...and that's the story of the inside of an
American GI's heart.
FAR EAST AIR FORCES