By Millard Alexander, S&S Staff Writer
Tokyo-Air Force Col. Dean Hess, famed for his life-saving
rescue flights of Korean orphans during the 1950 fighting, urged Monday
that future foster parents be carefully screened to assure a safe
and happy home life for adopted Korean youngsters.
"Promiscuous adoptions without proper investigation
of the ability or desire of foster parents to treat an orphan as one
of the family should be stopped," the colonel stressed during an
"No adoption of the Korean kids should be approved
without the same exhaustive investigations that precede one in the
United States. Some instances have been proved where elderly people
are adopting Korean orphans to use in later years as nothing more
Col. Hess emphasized that "these children need
the same kind of give-and-take love that any baby must have.
The colonel was in Tokyo on a return trip to the
U.S. after flying with a "minor league herd" of 20 Texas calves, a
gift to the Korean orphanage he founded years ago.
His exploits with the Air Force in Korea-against
MIGs and for homeless Korean children-turned into a best-selling novel
and Hollywood epic, "Battle Hymn." Rock Hudson starred as Col. Hess
in the movie.
The colonel, an ordained minister known as the
"flying parson" during World War II, turned over all proceeds from
the novel and movie to the orphanage.
His reunion at the Orphans' Home of Korea was touching
and warm, he reported.
Col. Hess spent more than an hour with President
and Mrs. Syngman Rhee at their mansion in Seoul.
Among proposed long-range projects constantly buzzing
the altruistic mind of Col. Hess are a planned trip to the U.S. for
the Orphans' Home of Korea band and the donation of a free merry-go-round
to Seoul which will be operated on off-duty time by U.S servicemen
for the children of Korea.
"GIs are still great with kids," says Col. Hess
with a satisfied smile. "In 1950-53 alone, the guys kicked in more
than $19 million - completely apart from any organized fund drives.
Guess it will always be that way."
Will he return soon on another deal for the orphans?
"Not until I save some money. This trip just about
cleaned me out financially," he said ruefully.
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