Stars and Stripes, Dec. 16, 1962
( ? ) Korea
HQ., U.S. 1ST CAV. DIV.,
Korea (IO) - His name is Ki Sik Song, but he is known to hundreds
of American soldiers who visit the 1st Cav. Div.'s Recreation
Center No. 4 as "Johnny One-Skate."
Johnny is a 13 year old Korean orphan. Both
his parents lost their lives near Mok-po in the Korean War. Somehow
Johnny made his way north to Munsan-ni. He doesn't remember when
he got here, but says it was "a long time ago."
Johnny became a member of the Munsan-ni Boy Scouts
of Korea Assn. and still lives at the Scout home. He also found
job as a shoe shine boy at Recreation Center No. 4, where he became
known to thousands of soldiers - because he greeted them all like
long lost friends.
In November Johnny began leaving his shoe shine
stand during lunch hour. Then he was observed on one of his lunch
time jaunts. The Korean youth was seen skating through the village
of Sonyu-ri, outside the gates of Recreation Center No. 4. On his
right foot was a roller skate, on his left, only a badly worn tennis
Once Johnny perfected his ability to skate on
one leg, he began skating around the compound. He never seemed
to be bothered by the fact that one of the skates was missing, though
a gash on his chin and a bruise on his forehead bear mute testimony
that he sometimes has trouble with his balance. The boy was quickly
dubbed "Johnny One-Skate" by his American friends. They termed
him "the inventor of the world's smallest scooter."
"He never seems to be troubled by the fact he
has less than others," said PFC Robert Scholp of the center's film
exchange. "He makes the best of what he's got and never complains."
But 'Johnny One-Skate' is due for a surprise.
Soldiers who frequent the recreation center have shipped in for
a present for their young friend. A new pair of roller skates will
be his on Christmas morning. And from hundreds of American soldiers
to one young Korean orphan will come the sincere wish: Merry Christmas.