TOYS FOR ORPHANS-Army personnel at Cheju-do Island
unload toys from a C-54 that will be given to the 1,600 orphans
on the island. The toys were contributed by personnel of the Japan
Air Defense Force. (USAF Photo)
JADF's Presents Flown To Island
By Combat Cargo
By A/3C Larry O'Toole
WITH 403D WING, Dec. 26-The (Combat Cargo) joined
forces with the Japan Air Defense Force to play Santa Claus to some
1,600 orphans on Cheju Island. A C-54 Skymaster piloted by Col.
Cecil H. Childre, vice commander of Combat Cargo, settled on a broad
turf area of the small island 300 miles south of Seoul. The big
plane carried 13 passengers, including Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Russell
L. Blaisdell, who was laden with toys for orphans in the 14 orphanages
on the island.
THE GIFTS, along with which went $1,600 in cash,
had been contributed by personnel at bases from all over JADF.
Known as "Operation Giftlift", the drive was started on a suggestion
made by Miss Peggy Harris, JADF service clubs adviser. It was given
impetus by JADF service club directors at (. . . ?. . . ) directors
(?) Phyllis Grundmann, Lou Ban Densen, Gladys Martin, and Marge
Binder, all of whom made the "Giftlift" flight from Japan to distribute
Biggest orphanage on the island is known as the
Orphans' Home of Korea. Here the more than 700 charges for whom
it cares are trained in the arts and domestic crafts and are taught
voice and music by the staff of 72 instructors retained by the orphanage.
COMBAT CARGO and JADF played a major role in
founding the orphans' home. When the Red menace to Seoul became
grave in December, 1950, it became imperative for Chaplain Blaisdell
to move a center for 1,000 waifs he had founded in the South Korean
capital. The children went to Inchon for shipment to Cheju-do and
waited four and one-half days in a small, crowded room for LSTs
to transport them. Seven children died.
IN DESPERATION, Chaplain Blaisdell returned to
Seoul and was able to obtain 16 Skymasters to fly the kids to Cheju.
In no time they were in their new home and the incident became famous
as "Christmas Kidlift."
The visitors bringing gifts to the orphanage
for this Christmas saw the results of "Kidlift". In one room, children
were enjoying Korean song and dance routines; in another, they were
skillfully knitting socks and sweaters. Twenty-one of them were
recuperating in a well stocked hospital.