SEOUL- It is a long haul from the rubble-strewn
streets of Chin-nampo, North Korea, to the United States and a college
education and a job with the U.S. Peace Corps. Peter David Orr,
former Korean waif, has bridged the gap in giant strides.
Orr returned to Korea last week for a brief visit,
his first in eight years. It was arranged by the American Korean
Foundation. He is en route to the University of Wisconsin where
he will aid Peace Corps trainees as well as enroll as a full time
All ties with his real family and previous identity
ended in Chin-nampo in 1950 when the U.N. Forces were withdrawing
southward under pressure of the Chinese communist offensive. Orr's
family vanished and he was left alone. Men of the U.S. Army's 519th
Military Police Bn. came along and rescued the waif. He became
their mascot and moved with them to Wonju in 1953. From there he
went to the States in 1957 as the adopted son of the Norman Orr
family in Eugene, Ore.
Following high school and graduation from the
University of Oregon came the assignment with the Peace Corps in
Pakistan. Orr volunteered for the Peace Corps because of what he
describes as "my own desire to be patriotic to the ideals of my
country, America, by helping others."
Orr has visited Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India,
Malaysia and Japan since leaving Korea. He is pridefully aware
of the progress the ROK has made in recent years. Orr said he does
not believe the ROK has adopted absolute Western ways since World
War II. "It appears that Korea is making a successful blend of
the old and the new so that only the best of each is retained,"
Orr on Monday visited Col. George A. Bieri, the
Eighth Army provost marshal. Bieri was commander of the 519th
Military Police Bns. from August 1953 to November 1953. They met
in Bieri's office to reminisce. After a handshake and a warm "Hi,
Pete," Bieri said, with pride, "Peter has grown five or six inches
taller and his face has filled out a little but he's still the same
person I knew before."