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Hess Revisits Korean Orphanage

Urges Foster Parents Be Screened


 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 interview. 

"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 than servants." 

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. 

PSS-624  21 July 59






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