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Pacific Stars and Stripes, Dec. 25, 1953

Yanks Share Yuletide With Far East Needy

'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 the U.S.

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 cheer.

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 year.

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.






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