Pacific Stars and Stripes,
Dec. 15, 1953
by S/Sgt, BOB McNEILL
Chief,Pacific Stars & Stripes
THE ARMED FORCES assistance to Korea program, with
$8 million behind it, is swinging into action these days - but the
American servicemen who probably set some sort of world's record by
shelling out thousands to needy Koreans since the summer of 1950,
are still digging deep in their pockets to help rebuild Korea and
its shattered population.
The Department of Army's recent appropriation of
$8 million in military supplies to be used to help worthy Korean causes
isn't keeping American troops from maintaining their voluntary contributions
to orphanages, hospitals and other charities.
The exact amount voluntarily spent by these servicemen
is unknown since many records were never kept and some that were compiled
were lost in the war's earlier years. But the total amount is huge.
It is probably the first time in history that so
many soldiers voluntarily gave such tremendous amounts to help a war-flattened
people who, until June, 1950 were almost unknown and unheard of by
the average American.
Their compassionate generosity undoubtedly saved
the lives of thousands of homeless Korean children, their parents
killed or lost somewhere during the three-year fight, and the lives
of thousands of aged war widows and sick and helpless adults, left
destitute by the bloody struggle.
They gave freely and the idea was their own.
No complete records are available, but the Eighth
Army alone has tabulated spending more than $1 million collected from
voluntary contributions. And that figure came from recorded projects.
It does not include the thousands that were never recorded.
One person concerned with the tabulated figure
guessed that perhaps twice that much had actually been spent by Eighth
Fifth Air Force reported that since last May, its
airmen have voluntarily turned over $84,000. It has no figures revealing
what amount was given before that.
Most of the aid has gone to orphanages, but dollar
on dollar has been spent to help hospitals, old people's and widows'
homes, schools for the blind, the crippled and the deaf, and to many
other charitable agencies.
The aid has come in dollars, bundles of clothing,
boxes of food, vials of penicillin, bottles of vitamin tablets, many
other types of medical supplies and through innumerable parties staged
by U.N. troops which flooded Korean kids with bundles of gifts.
The servicemen not only give themselves, but they
send pleading messages home, asking for Stateside help. In many cases
they get it. With the aid of radio programs, both local and nationwide
hookups, they promoted tons of food and clothing.
Most of the projects are group organized. But there
are others that are carried out by single individuals.
Cpl. Gilbert Jones of the 558th MP Co. monthly
receives boxes of clothes from home. He gives them to the Kwa In Sa
Children's Home in Seoul.
In another one-man project, Capt. S. Treiger of
the 223rd Inf Regt. has contributed $175 in tuition fees to enable
Korean youth to obtain high school education.
A good example of a group project is Boys' Town,
an orphanage on an island in the Han River near Seoul, which was constructed
and is now supported by the men of the 5th RCT.
Each Air Force wing in Korea is supporting at least
one charity project. They support orphanages mostly, but the 18th
Fighter-Bomber Wing recently went in for a new angle when two villages
and a district school were forced to move to make room for the new
Fifth Air Force Headquarters. The wing collected more than $2,000
to help rebuild the school.
A majority of the Fifth Air Force's airmen and
top three-graders clubs also support sponsored projects.
Among Eighth Army's three corps, I Corps leads
in total recorded contributions, according to the Eighth Army's Civil
Its soldiers have given a tabulated $582,992. Second
is IX Corps with a tabulated $561,436. X Corps is third with $115,071.
The Eighth Army Civil Affairs Section reported
that records show soldiers have given $481,715 for public welfare;
271,480 for education; $74,795 for religion; $31,337 for public health;
and $479,484 for clothing.
Within the divisions, soldiers support projects
just as do their rear area brothers down south. All the corps headquarters
troops also have their volunteer projects.
In Taegu, to advertise KcomZ's Operation Good Will.
Maj. Gen. William S. Lawton, KcomZ commander, wrote a letter urging
contributions which was distributed to men of his command who forwarded
it to parents, civic groups, hometown newspapers and friends.
In the U.S., Fifth Army Area Headquarters if publicizing
it throughout the 13 states in its sphere and Arthur Godfrey is pushing
it on his shows. The letters have produced editorials in newspapers
throughout the country.
Packages donated to the cause and sent to 3rd Transportation
Military Railway service will be carried free by American railroads,
and so far, more than 1,000 packages have been received by KcomZ units.
KcomZ reported that every orphanage in its area
was sponsored either by a KcomZ unit, a KMAG unit or an air Force
From Pusan, the Korean Base Section reports its
personnel have been given illustrated brochures to help in getting
aid from home. Designed to be sent to friends and agencies in the
States, it lists items needed, where to send packages and how to address
In the Pusan area, KBS units sponsor 35 orphanages
and charitable agencies. There are still some orphanages in the area
which are not getting help, but the Civil Affairs Office is making
efforts to find units to volunteer aid to them.
Perhaps the most successful unit in KBS to get
aid from home is the Pusan Replacement Depot, 8069 Army Unit.
It recently began a letter-writing drive called
Operation Santa Claus and got Stateside-wide publicity. Arthur Godfrey
read one letter on his show and packages began to pour in. They came
from the U.S., Canada, Hawaii and Japan. Last month (November) 1,320
had arrived, averaging 15 pounds each.