Stars and Stripes, May 18, 1956
HQ., 1ST MARINE AIR WING, Korea-Marine
S/Sgt. Robert A. Rocke took off his identification tag and hung
it around the neck of Lee Seng Soun on her third birthday last Christmas.
It was a big event in both their lives.
Last week, Rocke and Soun, who is now Marguerite
E. Rocke, boarded a Marine Corps transport for a 10,000 mile trip
to Rocke's new duty station-the Marine Corps Air Station at Miami.
Welcoming them will be Mrs. Rocke and Mike Rocke, 3, who live in
Rocke first noticed his new daughter during a
Christmas Day party given by Marine Aircraft Group-12 for several
hundred Korean orphans from the Pohang Catholic Orphanage.
PUTTING THE identification tag around her neck
was the first move in the long, arduous adoption process that ended
four months later after 30 hours of flying between Pohang and Seoul,
and endless hours in jeeps, buses, even oxcarts, as Rock traveled
to get signatures of Korean officials to make the adoption legal.
The change from Lee Seng Soun to Marguerite E. Rocke was all the
more difficult because Rocke was the first air wing marine to adopt
a Korean orphan.
While the sergeant was moving through Korea on
the adoption proceedings, his overseas tour ran out, so he had to
extend to complete the work. Meantime, his future daughter was
moved from the Pohang Catholic Orphanage to the National Catholic
Welfare Council orphanage near Pusan to begin extensive physical
LATER THE CHILD was taken to the main Catholic
orphanage at Seoul where Rocke signed final papers before taking
her back to the airbase. That night in Rocke's hut, Marguerite
got her first American bath in a pastry pan-while several Leathernecks
stood by offering advice and moral support. One of them was M/Sgt.
John E. Luhta, who accompanied Rocke on the trip to Seoul to pick
up Marguerite. Luhta is now adopting a Korean boy. And at least
10 other Marines at Marine Aircraft Group-12 are planning to adopt