• Words of welcome:
• TM: The purpose of this reception is to
give our “blessings” to the photo exhibit “GIs and
the Kids – A Love Story” that is hanging on the walls
of this room. Our several speakers will look at this exhibit from
the perspective of the Korean War Veteran, from the perspective of
the citizens of Korea and from the perspective of the orphans of that
• TM: First I would like to recognize several
Chaplain Russell L. Blaisdell, Hero of the Kiddy
Car Airlift who saved the lives of over 950 orphans.
Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Korean War Veteran and Astronaut.
Mrs. Grace Rue, Director of the Seoul Sanitarium
and Hospital Orphanage who was “mother” to over 1,000
Ms. Jane Russell, children’s advocate
for over half a century.
• TM: We begin our program today by asking
Dr. Buzz Aldrin to comment on the photo exhibit from the perspective
of the Korean War Veteran. Let us welcome Dr. Aldrin to the microphone.
Dr. Aldrin speaks on
behalf of Korean War Veterans.
• TM: Presenting observations on the exhibit
on behalf of the citizens of Korea we call on a representative of
the Ambassador of the ROK.
No representative of the Embassy of the Republic
of Korea seems to be present. We will note their absence. They have
• TM: Over fifty years ago when I was touring
Korea with the USO I attempted to adopt an adorable war orphan from
North Korea but that strange little kid turned me down for an Army
sergeant. I would like to call that kid up here now to comment on
this exhibit from the perspective of Korean War orphans.
Link S. White speaks.
• TM: I would like to invite Dr. George Drake,
Coordinator of the Korean War Children’s Memorial Project to
comment on the creation of this exhibit.
Dr. Drake takes the microphone.
Comments on the need for the photo exhibit.
Introduces Al Zimmerman
Al comments on his “almost brother.”
Drake asks Link White to present the certificate to Al.
• TM: This photo exhibit “GIs and the
Kids – A Love Story” would not exist were it not for the
financial support of the Blaisdell Family. Will they all please come
• TM: Chaplain Russell L. Blaisdell, is the
hero of the Kiddy Car Airlift that saved the lives of over 950 war
orphans and over 100 orphanage staff just as the Chinese forces were
coming into Seoul in December of 1950. Chaplain Blaisdell’s
role in the rescue of those children began even earlier, when Seoul
was first liberated after the Inchon landing. He helped develop a
center for processing and placing children picked up off the streets
of the devastated city. Daily a 5th Air Force truck would go out to
pick up children from the streets, alleys and by ways of the city.
• Photographs of that truck and the processing
of those children are shown in the photo exhibit. A number of historical
photographs of the actual air lift are also presented and, finally,
other photographs show Chaplain Blaisdell with his assistant, S/Sgt.
Mike Strang, visiting the children in the Orphans Home of Korea, on
Cheju Do Island, safely to the south of the Korean peninsula.
• The Blaisdell family all knew that story
and wanted to ensure that the photographs of that incredible rescue
operation be part of an exhibit of photographs honoring all who helped
the children of Korea during the war years.
• With us here today is Susie Allen, a Korean
War orphan who was one of the many rescued in the Kiddy Car Airlift.
Calls Susie Allen forward to present certificates of appreciation
to those who funded the exhibit.
• Susie Allen is given the chance to say
a few words about her rescue.
• TM calls on Rev. Carter Blaisdell to respond.
Rev. Blaisdell has 2 minutes to talk.
• TM asks “Dr. Drake will you explain
what happens to this exhibit after tonight
• Drake presents a certificate of
ownership of the exhibit to Bill O’Brien, Chairman of the
Board of Directors of the Korean War Veterans National Museum and
Bill O’Brien responds.
• TM “Let’s go eat.”
Las Vegas Dinner Program
• TM: As you have seen in many of the photographs
in the exhibit the children in the orphanages were taught to say grace
before the meal. Let us do the same. I have asked Chaplain Russell
L. Blaisdell to offer a grace for us as we begin this meal and our
evening program. [The microphone is passed to Russ, who prays.]
When the dessert is passed TM takes the stage.
• TM: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we will
be honoring a number of individuals and military units that played
a role in providing aid to the war child of Korea in their time of
dire need. The number of individuals who helped the children probably
exceeds tens of thousands of young men and women who served in Korea
during the war years. What we have here tonight is a small representation
of men from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Ms. Russell
or I will read the citation for the individual or unit to be recognized
and call the individual to receive the certificate of appreciation
signed by a Korean War orphan up to the stage. The orphan will make
a brief comment, present the certificate and the recipient will then
make a brief comment. By brief I mean 20 to 30 seconds.
• TM: The first individual we want to recognize
is Chaplain Russell L. Blaisdell. Chaplain Blaisdell you need not
come up here, we will pass the microphone down to you. I commented
on Chaplain Blaisdell’s actions that saved the lives of over
one thousand persons but there is another element in that rescue story
that has never been told to the public before. I ask that Dr. Drake
relate that story to us now.
Drake tells about Blaisdell being sanctioned
for the mis-use of Air Force property and then, later, not “blowing
the whistle” on Dean Hess. Drake presents Blaisdell with a
scroll with the paintings done by the children he rescued.
Russ has a chance to respond.
• TM: Let us now tell the story of Sgt. Werner
Krenzer. Will Mr. Krenzer and Mr. Thomas Park Clement please join
• TM reads the citation for Krenzer and background
on Clement, gives Clement the certificate to present to Krenzer.
Clement speaks, presents the certificate to
• TM: Thomas Park Clement’s
life story is in his book that is for sale at the book table at the
back of the room. After dinner he will autograph copies for those
who so desire.
• JR: I would like to call forward Dr. William
Latham, and Mr. Dan Keenan while I tell you the story of the “Navy’s
• JR reads the citation on the rescue of
George Ascom and his arrival at Star of the Sea Orphanage. At this
point she gives George Ascom/Dan Keenan the certificate to present
to Dr. Latham who volunteered at the Star of the Sea Orphanage while
in Korea and for years there after while in the U.S.
Dan Keenan comments and presents the certificate.
Dr. Latham responds.
• JR continues reading the story of the adoption
of George Cruz Ascom by Dr. Keenan and the role of the ship USS Point
Cruz. She gives Dan Keenan the certificate for the representative
of the USS Point Cruz. [If no one is present from the Point Cruz Association
Dan will take the certificate and present it at the next reunion of
Dan Keenan comments and presents the certificate.
Point Cruz representative responds.
• JR: Also in Inchon harbor was the USS Saint
Paul. Mr. Robert Board will you please come forward and bring other
men of your ship with you. Jim Harrison will you also come up here
• JR reads the citation regarding Fushito and the role of the
men of the St. Paul.
• JR reads the story of Korean War orphan Jim Harrison and hands
him the certificate for Mr. Board and the USS Saint Paul Association.
Jim Harrison comments, makes the presentation.
Robert Board responds.
• JR: Everyone knows of Boys’
Town, Nebraska but in Korea there also is a Boys’ Town. The
Korean Boys’ Town was founded by the 5th Regimental Combat Team.
Will men of that unit please come forward and will Korean War Orphan
Robert Rue also come up.
• JR reads the citation.
Robert Rue comments and presents the certificates.
George Waugh responds for the 5th RCT
• Terry Moore moves to the stage, Jane Russell
resumes her seat.
• TM Not all orphanages were created by servicemen.
Sometimes servicemen found an orphanage in a sorry condition and intervened.
Here is a story of one such situation…. [reads the story. Meanwhile
Grace Rue, Eddie Cho, George Drake and Anthony Monteverdi come to
• Eddie Cho is introduced. He comments on
the rescue from the old orphanage and the creation of Manassas Manor.
Eddie Cho reads the document from the City of Manassas, Va.
• He presents to Drake two certificates to
be sent to the two fellows who began Manassas Manor orphanage. [Ray
Adams and Chuck Stevens]
• Drake responds. Tells of closing Manassas
Manor orphanage and sending the kids to Grace Rue.
• Grace Rue is introduced. She comments on
the aid received from many military units for her orphanage but especially
notes the aid from the various units of the Army Security Agency.
She presents a personal certificate to Anthony Monteverdi and also
a unit citation for ASA-Korea to him.
• Monteverdi responds on behalf of ASA Korea
• TM: After the armistice the orphanage population
was still growing by over 1,000 children a month as the kids came
in off the streets. Now many military units had men with idle hands
so a program was developed to help rebuild the orphanages and schools.
Tonight we have an individual who was responsible for building a large
school that still exists today. Will Major Weghorst please come up
here And Robert Rue, will you join us
• TM reads the citation, passes the certificate to Robert Rue.
Rue speaks and presents the certificate
Major Weghorst responds.
• TM invites JR to the microphone.
• TM: Many of you know my dear friend Jane
Russell from her movie career but she had another life. She was a
strong advocate for children and in 1953 lobbied for the passage of
legislation that permitted the adoption of Korean War orphans to the
United States. Prior to that time all such adoptions had to be individually
approved by the US Congress.
• Mr. Thomas Park Clement, who sits on the
boards of directors of several organizations of Korean War orphans
and Korean American Adoptees, would like to thank Ms. Russell for
her work on behalf of the more than 100,000 Korean adoptees now resident
in the USA by virtue of the legislation she helped pass.
Clement speaks, then presents the framed certificate
and a copy of the Azalea map of Korea to Jane Russell.
Jane Russell responds and then sits down.
• TM: Link White has asked to speak about
the Korean War Children’s Memorial Project and its creator,
Dr. George F. Drake. Link, the microphone is yours.
• Link: Will Doctor and Mrs. Drake please come up here and join
• TM: Mr. Larry Sassarossi, Executive Director
of the Korean War Veterans Museum and Library would like to make a
few comments on that project as it relates to this evening’s
• Mr. Sassarossi: [3 minutes]
• TM: I would like to close this evening’s
session by asking our first speaker of the day, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, to
offer his comments on what has happened here tonight.
• Dr. Aldrin speaks:
• Good Night