May 25, 1956

Youngest 'Corporal' In Korea: Bonzo, 8

By SP3 Steve Wareck

S&S Korea Bureau

TAEGU, Korea-"Cpl." Bonzo is an 8 year old Korean waif with big problems-he has no parents and speaks no Korean.  Bonzo's home is with the 19th Quartermaster Co. in Taegu, but nobody knows much about him except that his mother and father were killed in the war.  He was living with an engineering outfit, where he learned to speak English, until it broke up about a year ago.  A short time later, one of the 19th's water trucks was passing through town when Bonzo hailed it.  He's kept a bunk and footlocker with them ever since.

BONZO'S MILITARY career has had its ups and downs.  He was a master sergeant with the engineers, but one day he missed reveille and "the old man called me in and busted me to corporal."  He's had his troubles with the 19th also.  Recently, a colonel spotted him in his salvaged OGs and stripes.  "He said I had to wear civvies," Bonzo sighs, "but I was really lookin' sharp when a two-star inspected us.  He threw me a highball and patted me on the head, so I guess I can keep wearin' my uniform.  But I can't make master again, because I ain't got nothin'.  No patches, nothin' and anyway, I'm on restriction for not taking a shower."

EVERY DAY Bonzo gets up for reveille and goes on police call.  He makes all the formations "except PT" and "don't pull much guard."  During his off hours, he "just messes around" drilling the troops and shooting some expert pool.  He used to play ball, but is currently suffering from a sore arm.  The men make sure he's in bed by 9 p.m. and watch him closely to make sure he takes a shower.

Bonzo maintains close liaison with the staff of AFKN's radio station Kilroy.  At any hour of the day he's liable to call up and say "Hey, this is Bonzo.  Play 'O Happy Day'."  His special favorite is Doris Day, whom he considers "No. 1."

BUT THE STAFF has some trying moments with Bonzo.  He was about to enter a Kilroy jeep several weeks ago when he got in an argument with a corporal over the right to the front seat.  It was resolved when Bonzo pointed out, "I got more time in grade than you."

Currently the 19th has plans to send him to school.  But Bonzo is resisting strenuously.  How's a fellow going to sharpen up his pool game if he has to spend all that time in class?, he argues.

SSS-752 &753



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