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Pacific Stars & Stripes, Aug. 22, 1954

'Too Near Draft Age' Marine Bachelor Adopts Korean Interpreter, 18


WASHINGTON, Aug 21 (UP)- Marine S/Sgt. Harry R. Ritchie, Kingsport, Tenn., has adopted a Korean orphan. There's nothing unusual about that-lots of Yanks did it.

What is unusual is that Harry, how is now stationed at Marine headquarters here, is a bachelor. The boy he adopted, 18-year-old Huhng Buhn Kim, is almost as old as his foster father, who is just 24. 

The sergeant and Huhng Buhn Kim met during the fighting over there. Kim was an interpreter for our side while Harry was assigned to the First Marine Aircraft Wing at Pohang.

Kim was good at his job. He had learned English in the American schools. He and the sergeant from Tennessee became close friends after the shooting ended. They worked together to step up relief for the people of Korea who were out of homes, work and money.

Kim's Job

Kim's job was to decide where the relief goods would help the most. Kim and the sergeant worked closely with the CARE people and other relief organizations.

"They said we did a good job." Ritchie said, "but it was mostly Kim." So the lad wanted to come back to America."

The sergeant wrote to his family, to the Methodist minister in his hometown, to the Justice Department, to the American consulate in Pusan, and to the Korean government.

"I suggested a student visa," the sergeant said. "The answer was no. The quota was filled and besides that Kim was near the draft age. The only way to get him over here was to adopt him. It took a bit of doing."




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