Pacific Stars and Stripes,
Nov. 5, 1951
By Cpl. Chuck Francisco
WITH THE U.S. 7TH INF REG- Loaded
with "Kartons for Koreans," packages sent to Korea from friends and
families of men of the 17th Infantry Buffalo Regiment, two jeeps turned
off a dusty road and stopped amid the bullet-pocked buildings in a Korean
In the lead jeep was Chaplain (Maj.) Ralph Osborn,
Gossville, N.H., who is in charge of the project, undertaken to provide
warm winter clothing for innocent victims of war.
Only one small girl was in sight when the jeeps
rolled in. The interpreter explained that the American soldiers had
"many, many presentos" of clothing for those who needed them. Off she
sped, and within a matter of minutes the people of all sizes and ages
were crowding around the loaded trailer.
The chaplain and his helpers dug into the big cartons
and displayed countless articles which brought smiles of frantic eagerness
to the faces of young and old alike. Mothers nursing naked babies crowded
forward and were given warm knit sweater sets for their youngsters.
Little boys and girls grabbed their bright new American clothes and
sprinted away to try them on.
Like a bargain counter at Macy’s, as more people
arrived, the wilder the group became. Soon the trailer was rocking as
the villagers struggled to make sure they all got something.
The problem was finally solved, in part when the
mayor of the village, an elderly and dignified gentleman in spite of
his tattered attire, explained that there would be plenty for all. Lines
were formed and the trailer was soon emptied.
The families of the Buffaloes were generous in their
donations. One box contained all new denim jackets and trousers for
little boys, and bright plaid skirts and jackets for little girls. The
stooped and wrinkled grandmothers of the village walked a little straighter
in warm winter coats.
Chaplain (Capt.) John W. Betzold, West Collingswood,
N.J., originated the idea of "Kartons for Koreans" in August. He distributed
letters to the men of the 17th during Sunday church services asking
for donations of clothing from their families back in the States. Chaplain
Betzold has since gone on rotation, but his program is gaining impetus
daily as more and more cartons of gifts arrive at the headquarters of
"At first I thought it would
be too big a problem for us to distribute the clothing ourselves," Chaplain
Osborne admitted. "But now that I’ve seen the faces of these people
as we hand out the clothes. It’s worth any amount of trouble that might
be involved. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive.