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(4 Jun 1952)

Charley's My Boy

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 well."

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. 


APO 925


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