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Tot Sails for U.S. Home With Officer

Chaplain, Doctor Complete 4-Month Job of Clearing Child for Adoption


YOKOSUKA, Japan, Dec. 2-Months of kindly, sympathetic endeavor on the part of a Navy chaplain and a Navy doctor culminated yesterday in the rescue of a tiny blue-eyed, blond foundling from the oblivion of a Korean orphanage.  The tot is aboard the USNS General Gaffey bound for the U.S. and adoption.   

The story began last July when the chaplain, Lt. (JG) E. O. Riley, discovered the eight month old infant, obviously of Caucasian parentage, in the Star of the Sea Orphanage at Inchon.  The moment he saw the child, Riley determined he would be a misfit if allowed to grow up in that environment.  He learned that the baby had been abandoned at the dispensary of the Army Service Command at Ascom City, halfway between Inchon and Seoul while the shooting war was at its peak.  From this, a priest at the orphanage had named the tot George C. Ascom. 

With the concurrence of his skipper, Captain L.T. Hayward of the Carrier Point Cruz, Riley began the intricate process of clearing international barriers to sending the baby to the U.S.  It was his intention to place him in a Dubuque, Iowa, orphanage for adoption by American parents.  Wile he was working at this-a task which took him more than four months-another Navy officer found the blue-eyed blond among the all-brunette ménage of the orphanage.    Lt. Hugh C. Keenan, a doctor on the Hospital Ship Consolation, reacted the same way Riley had, but his plans were a little more definite.  He wanted to adopt the baby himself. 

Working together, Riley and Keenan finally unwound all the red tape necessary to have the child admitted to the U.S.  A week ago he sailed for Japan aboard the Point Cruz.  Thus, thanks to two Navy officers, the little boy whose blond hair and blue eyes made him the "black sheep" among a race of black-haired, black-eyed people, is going to a land where he can grow up among his own kind. 

NAVY CHOW NOW-Changing his diet from rice and kimchi to standard American baby food seems to agree with George C. Ascom, blond, blue eyed foundling from Korea who was adopted by a Navy doctor.  Here George is fed his favorite, applesauce, by Hospital man Third Class Norman J. Van Sloan, Chaska, Minn., aboard the Point Cruz en route to Japan.  The child will be sent to Seattle where he will be adopted by Lt. (USN) and Mrs. Hugh C. Keenan.  (USN Photo)

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