Pacific Stars and Stripes, June
PFC Aids Mute Seoul Urchin
By Cpl. Bob Campbell
WITH U.S. 25TH DIV., June 5-One of the strongest friendships
to be found anywhere exists today between an American soldier and a Korean
orphan who have never and will never hear each other's voices. Although,
PFC Adalberto Sanchez, Company B, 725th Ordnance Battalion,
and his inseparable friend, Ko Duk Chun, talk and work together every
day, they do so through an inaudible form of conversation.
THIS STRANGE situation exists because Ko Duk Chun
is a deaf-mute. Ko, a few weeks ago, was a street urchin shining shoes
and living in the streets of Seoul like so many thousands of other children
to be found there today. Then one day, he shined the boots of Sanchez.
The shoeshine meeting developed into their present close friendship.
"When the little guy first started
bothering me for a shine," says Sanchez, "I tried to brush him off with
my limited Korean vocabulary, but nothing that I could say seemed to have
any effect on his persistent begging."
KO FOLLOWED Sanchez for the rest of the afternoon
before producing a small card written in scrawling longhand English
stating that he was a deaf-mute. At this point, Sanchez broke into
a joyful smile, for he, through close association with many deaf-mute
friends in New York City, was capable of using sign language.
"I'm thankful that this language is
universal to people all over the world," comments Sanchez, "because
even though Chun is Korean and I am American, we don't have a bit of
trouble with the usual language barrier."
When time came for Sanchez to return to his company
from Seoul, Chun begged and pleaded to be allowed to come with him.
Finally, it was agreed to take Ko if he could produce some type of credentials.
This he promptly did, showing that he was a graduate of the School of
Deaf and Dumb in Seoul and had at one time been employed by another
Slowly Ko today is fitting into his job as houseboy
and handyman around the kitchen of Company B, but to one who was misunderstood
and ridiculed for so long, it is a slow process for him to appear and
conduct himself as an average person.