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New York Times, 20 Dec. 1950


Orphans Found by Soldiers Taken to Secret Island by U.S. Transports

SEOUL, Korea, Dec. 20 (AP)- Nearly 1,000 big-eyed little Korean street orphans were airlifted to an island sanctuary off South Korea today.

Fifteen twin-engine United States transport planes landed at nearby Kimbo airbase to fly the war waifs out of the combat zone.

Truck after truck rolled up loaded with children and backed up to the open plane doors. There were 964 in all, ranging in age from 6 months to 9 years. Most had been saved from gutter death by kind-hearted United States soldiers who had found them lying abandoned in the streets of Seoul.

The soldiers had taken them to a child welfare center established by LT. Col R. L. Blaisdell of Highfield, MN, chaplain of the 5th Airforce.

Scores of small pilgrims of distress where covered with sores and their bodies' will still shrunken from starvation. Some gestured at their mouths to show their hunger and mumbled "chop chop." The planes carried a fifteen-day supply of rations, but the children could not be fed until they were aloft.

"A hundred and two of them are ill-and twenty-four just got out of the hospital," said Chaplain among them - everything from scabies to whooping cough and tuberculosis."

Eighty Korean women attendants accompanied the children and each plane carried a trained United States evacuation nurse. LT Grace Chicken, of Buffalo, MO volunteered to make the flight on her day off.

Capt. Mary Wilfong of Selma, AL, who had evacuated many wounded troops, watched as one sick child was lifted into the plane.

"Pitiful-they're so pitiful," she said. "It's even worse than seeing our own wounded men."

An emaciated small boy called down hopefully to Lt Jane Murphy of Milton, PA: "Hello, hello. You want good houseboy?" Lt Murphy smiled up at him and then turned her face away.

"It makes me want to cry," she said.

Most of the orphans were too weak to show much interest in their plane ride. Some cried dully, their thin wails all but lost in the noise of backing trucks. They shivered in thin worn clothing as volunteer United States airmen gently lifted them bodily from truck to plane. The orphans were loaded seventy to a plane.


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