Pacific Stars and Stripes,
Dec. 25, 1953
'Twas the night before Christmas-through the Far
East Command Not a creature was stirring in the war-weary land
But stockings were hung by hibachis with care -If Santa missed, the
G.I. would get there.
TOKYO, Dec. 25 (Pac. S&S)- This Christmas,
the first peaceful Yuletide in the Far East since 1949, was marked
with the greatest display of mass charity and inter-nation friendship
in the history of the Orient.
In Korea alone nearly 300 Christmas parties entertained
approximately 125,000 natives, 95 percent of whom were orphans or
needy children. Most of these parties were distribution points for
tons and tons of warm clothing collected for the occasion.
By the end of November, men of the Fifth Air Force
alone had collected more than $30,000 in voluntary donations for their
Christmas effort in Korea. In addition, the airmen collected more
than 100,000 pounds of clothing from friends and organizations in
In Seoul, Eight Army units are sponsoring 18 orphanages
caring for more than 4,000 children. Competition was keen among the
units to see which could outdo the other in the spreading of Christmas
Men of the 22nd Signal Group were proud of having
given their orphanage in Seoul a new organ, while personnel of the
70th Truck Bn. boasted that their Myong-Jin Orphanage had the biggest
Christmas tree in Korea. Other units tried to outshine these efforts.
Also in Seoul, completion of an addition to the
Book Han San Orphanage at a cost of $2,500-financed by U.S. servicemen
was rushed to meet a Christmas deadline.
Many units started distributing gifts long before
Dec. 25. In Pusan, the Replacement Depot started a fund-raising drive
in the States last August. By Nov. 6 the depot had received 2,060
packages containing 16 tons of clothing.
Men of the 7th Div., supplied 10,000 Korean children
with approximately 30 tons of clothing and $10,000 in school supplies,
CARE packages and presents on Christmas Day.
At the Yokosuka Navy Base in Japan, more than 3,000
children were feted at parties given on nine ships.
Men of the 24th Div., recently transferred from
Japan to Korea, didn't forget the needs of the orphanage at Sendai.
The $31,000 fund raised in the division was divided between that institution
and 15 orphanages in Korea.
An example of continued sponsorship which was climaxed
with a gala Christmas party this year comes from the 27 Inf. Regt.
Since 1949, the regiment has contributed more than $146,000 to the
support of the Holy Family Home in Osaka.
In the Ryukyus, all Christmas plans were coordinated
by the U.S. Civil Administration office. It is believed that
every needy child on the islands received aid from servicemen this
From above the 38th Parallel in Korea to the Southern
tip of the Ryukyus the open-handed generosity and hospitality of American
servicemen and the sympathetic munificence of "the folks back
home" combined to make the season a true festival of merriment
for thousands of children and needy persons throughout the Far East,
Command headquarters said.