To Those Who We Could Not Save
The Compassionate Army
A Feature Film and Television Series
This feature film and television series are in long overdue recognition and in honor of the American servicemen and women who, during the Korean War (1950 - 1953), rendered extraordinary and compassionate humanitarian aid to the lost and forgotten children of the war torn nation.
"It is estimated that US forces in Korea saved the lives of over 10,000 children and helped sustain over 50,000 in more than 400 orphanages built or repaired by the servicemen. With an income averaging less than $100 a month they contributed over two million dollars in those war years. They called for help from family, neighbors and friends back home which resulted in the shipment to Korea of thousands of tons of material aid such as toys, tools, medicines, food, clothing and other items for the children and their care givers.” http://www.koreanchildren.org/index.html
"On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War. By July, American troops had entered the war on South Korea’s behalf. As far as American officials were concerned, it was a war against the forces of international communism itself. After some early back-and-forth across the 38th parallel, the fighting stalled and casualties mounted with nothing to show for them. Meanwhile, American officials worked anxiously to fashion some sort of armistice with the North Koreans. The alternative, they feared, would be a wider war with Russia and China–or even, as some warned, World War III. Finally, in July 1953, the Korean War came to an end.
The Korean War was relatively short but exceptionally bloody. Nearly 5 million people died. More than half of these–about 10 percent of Korea’s prewar population–were civilians. (This rate of civilian casualties was higher than World War II’s and Vietnam’s.) Almost 40,000 Americans died in action in Korea, and more than 100,000 were wounded. The Korean peninsula is still divided today.
Unlike World War II and Vietnam, the Korean War did not get much media attention in the United States. The most famous representation of the war in popular culture is the television series “M*A*S*H,” which was set in a field hospital in South Korea. The series ran from 1972 until 1983, and its final episode was the most-watched in television history.” https://www.history.com/topics/korea/korean-war
American GI's and Korean Children
To Those Who We Could Not Save:
Operation Little Orphan Annie aka The Kiddy Car Airlift
"Today the Air Force in Korea was carrying out what they called Operation Little Orphan Annie. In the Seoul area they are flying out a thousand children- waifs and strays of war. This host of orphans had been taken to the Port of Inchon to be taken away by a vessel of the South Korean Navy. But the ship failed to arrive so an airlift was organized-Operation Little Orphan Annie. The story goes back to a humane project which began when American airplanes first arrived in Seoul after the liberation of the city several months ago. U.S. pilots found a child half dead lying on the grounds of the Korean orphanage which had been abandoned in the fighting for the city. They picked him up and took care of that waif and then decided to get the orphanage going again and support it and they all came through with contributions and Korean war orphans were taken in by the score.
The Air Force plan was to expand the thing into a child welfare center for Seoul. But the fortunes of war took that unlucky turn and Seoul menaced by the Reds is being evacuated again. At the orphanage the children were moved out and taken to Inchon to await the Korean ship-the ship that never came. There they were marooned for three days- until their plight was discovered by Chaplain Blaisdell of Hayfield, Minnesota. He took fast action, the airlift was organized and began today-U.S. planes flying out a thousand children-Operation Little Orphan Annie.” http://www.koreanchildren.org/docs/AirForceChaplains-Q.htm
Chaplain (Colonel) Russell L. Blaisdell (USAF) and the Kiddy Car Airlift.
September 1950 - December 1950
The story of Colonel Blaisdell's involvement in the Kiddy Car Airlift begins well before the actual airlift itself. What is generally unknown is that Colonel Blaisdell was largely responsible for the initial rescue of most of the children when they were found on the streets of Seoul in the months before the airlift. This is the story of the orphans prior to 20 December 1950. The first document is Chaplan Blaisdell's story of those days written in February and March of 1951 and never before published. Two articles in the Pacific Stars and Stripes give us another look at Blaisdell's activities in Seoul toward the end of 1950.
ORPHAN CARE AND EVACUATION
KOREA, DECEMBER 1950
CH (LT. COL.) USAF
Air Force Chaplain 5th AF
THE KIDDY CAR AIRLIFT, 16-20 DECEMBER 1950
The actual rescue of the children is best presented in a document written by Colonel Blaisdell in March of 1951. Here it is in his own words. Following it are several other accounts of the rescue including the article written by Hal Boyle, Associated Press reporter. Boyle's story of the rescue was printed in newspapers throughout America and resulted in donations of thousands of dollars and tons of material being sent to Chaplain Blaisdell. We include here reports of the events from the time the children left Seoul for Inchon until they were on the planes headed for Cheju-do four days later.
Brokaw Report on Blaisdale
To Those Who We Could Not Save:
Each one hour (or half hour) episode would feature a story based on an actual event that happened during the war pertaining to American GIs and the children of Korea during 1950 - 1953. This website alone contains over one thousand such stories and pictures and more can be sourced. (Please see below for couple of stories) http://www.koreanchildren.org
The background stories will be about children of all ages, cut off from parents and relatives, formed into gangs for mutual help, begging and stealing. Mothers unable to feed their children abandoned them at sentry Posts. Boys and girls living in ditches, caves, the streets of cities in unbelievable poverty. Many having shrapnel in their bodies. All having diseases and parasites.
The American serviceman, faced with this tragedy of war, could not wait for official channels and agencies which were already strained to the breaking point. Unit after unit in Korea sponsored orphanages, gathering up children, getting Koreans to run them, providing clothing, food, and supplies. In order to qualify for any rice ration from UNCACK, an orphanage had to have 50 children, and there were other desperate needs. The serviceman responded through his own resources and through letters to parents and home churches.
There were also unscrupulous Korean racketeers running spurious orphan projects to prey on sympathies of generous servicemen. Some of these hired children for a small pittance to play in the orphanage and its yard each day and pose as hungry, needy orphans. Others sold CARE packages, blankets, clothing, medicine, food, and toys on the black market. At one orphanage, the chaplain found almost naked children in severe winter weather, but a storeroom filled with clothing. Some chaplains who thought they were the main support of an orphanage were surprised to find that chaplains of other units--Army, Marine, and Air Force -- claimed the same distinction. http://www.koreanchildren.org/docs/AirForceChaplains-Q.htm
And of course the love stories of GIs and Korean women and their children.
Dr. Rusk, who is associate editor of The New York Times, said there were 100,000 orphans in South Korea, that many diseases were prevalent and that cold and hunger were widespread. He described how United States soldiers had given their own money and time to help Korean children. Referring to the Korean conflict as "the war we didn't win," Dr. Rusk asserted that the humanitarian efforts exemplified by our troops there might show that "at long last we have a chance to win the peace.” The way our country treats old people, crippled children and handicapped persons, Dr. Rusk declared, "mirrors to the rest of the world what our democracy really stands for." He added that this constituted a language that transcended barriers of race and religion and provided an example of "how to live together in a peaceful world.”
Stories from http://www.koreanchildren.org/
[George] Drake said the most rewarding experience of his efforts to tell the story of Korean War orphans was a letter from one of the children he helped at an orphanage named Manassas Manor after company commander Capt. John Consolvo's hometown in Virginia.
"My name is Eddie Cho and I am one of your Manassas orphans," Cho wrote to Drake. "I was about four years old when the Korean War broke out. I remember my father being taken captive by the North Koreans and my mother being so sick and eventually dying of the black plague while trying to escape, on foot, from Seoul. I have often thought of the American Soldiers from the 326th Communication Reconnaissance Company who took care of us at the Manassas Manor orphanage," wrote Cho. "I had always wished that I could have known their names and addresses so that I could have expressed my gratefulness. So many wonderful memories," Cho wrote, "We were kings of the world! You included us in each and every recreational activity, such as games and movies, with the spare time you had. I cherish and thank you for those precious memories you provided for us at the Manassas orphanage.”
Pacific Stars and Stripes, Dec. 21, 1950 - Sergeant Carries Baby To Safety
WITH THE 1ST MARINE DIV IN KOREA (Delayed)- His feet were too frozen to make the long march away from the Chosin reservoir sector, so the big, nameless, sergeant, almost tearful, was hauled aboard a truck loaded with others like him.
The frozen roads were jammed with men and trucks and small groups of Korean refugees, and the enemy waited to pounce on the convoy. In one of these raids, a Korean woman, carrying her small son, was hit. The big sergeant's truck drew alongside. Desperately, the woman looked at the Marine driver, talking rapidly in her native tongue and holding out the child. The driver, intent on maneuvering his clumsy vehicle along the busy route, did not see her. With an impatient grunt of pain, the big sergeant moved to the side of the truck. Leaning over, he took the child from the woman. Its feet were frozen and its hands cracked and bleeding. For nine long hours the sergeant sat without moving. He cushioned the child's body against the bumping, jarring truck with his own. He had placed the boy inside his parka. When enemy mortars halted the column and machinegun bullets whined, the sergeant pushed his chin down against the boy's head and sucked on his dead pipe. When the column moved again, it drew white phosphorous shells in the light of enemy flares. The sergeant sat his ground. When it was finally over, the big sergeant moved his body for the first time. Lifting the boy from the truck, he hobbled across the snow to an aid station.