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Pacific Stars and Stripes, December 11, 1950

Butch' Plays Role Of Kipling Hero 

WITH 1ST MARINES IN KOREA-This is one of those pleasant stories which sometimes crop up in a war.  During the battle for Seoul, members of the 1st Marine band gained an ally-11 year old Pong Tong Mah, a fresh faced, English speaking South Korean lad they promptly dubbed "Butch."


BUTCH WAS everywhere, carrying water, ammunition and a smile-he was one of the boys, and a younger brother to look after.  And Butch, an orphan, had found a home.  It was a dream come true.  But dreams have a way of ending.

 AFTER SEOUL was secured, word came down that the division was moving out.  Butch would have to be left behind.  He stood by and watched the division load on trucks and drive off to an embarkation point.  Then he had an idea.  He started off by himself on a journey that was little short of amazing.

HE WALKED from Seoul to Inchon and persuaded an Army outfit going aboard ships to take him aboard.  They fitted him out with a cut down Army uniform.  Then he and the Army split at the North Korean town of Iwon.  Butch asked around town and heard rumors of a marine landing further south, in rugged north central Korea.  So off he went.

He hopped a train near Iwon and rode for over 100 miles through guerrilla country-still in uniform.  At Hungnam, he got off where familiar heavy, green Marine Corps trucks lumbered through the streets.

 EVERY AMERICAN he saw wore the globe and anchor insignia.  Butch was home.  Today he's back with the bandsmen-or he was when this was written.  At night, when the leathernecks huddle in a foxhole next to a machinegun watching for the Chinese enemy to move, Butch may be there, laughing quietly and whispering jokes.


If Butch is still alive, he'll keep his home with the bandsmen.  "He's our boy," they asserted proudly, mussing his closely-cropped hair.




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