Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 22, 1953
 

U.S. Soldiers Give Away 'Fortunes' To Charities

 
By Cpl. Ed Deswysen
 
HQ, EIGHTH ARMY, Mar. 22 (Pac. S&S)- Lt. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor has announced that his Eighth Army had contributed nearly half a million dollars ($450,330.28) to the recent March of Dimes drive in Korea.
 
The Dimes campaign was only one of four organized charity drives in the combat zone this year. In every case the soldiers have given away fortunes.
 
TAYLOR APPLAUDED "the American soldier and his sympathy for the unnecessary suffering of all persons-especially our children." He said the American soldier is noble and generous.
 
Men in the hospitals gave who may never walk again themselves...except they don't have polio. They have no legs.
 
There are the other charities. Draftees who wouldn't go to West Point if they had an invitation on a silver platter are now doling out thousands of dollars to build a military academy for the Koreans.
 
THEY'VE GIVEN millions to the American Red Cross, even though Cross benefits are more hidden than not. The charities are constantly on his neck with an outstretched palm, and it is a rare day when Frontline Joe can turn on his portable radio without hearing, "Give to The Netherlands...they just renounced Marshall Plan aid...they had a big flood...give." Or, "Answer the call...the Red Cross likes you."
 
Last year a frontline sergeant gave more than $500 to the Red Cross so he could throw a pie in his CO's face. It cost him more money than he would get in combat pay for nine month's in no-man's-land.
 
Most divisions sponsor a school or orphanage. There is always a drive on somewhere to build a church for the Koreans or to send a houseboy to college in the States.
 
These soldiers aren't much different from regular people, except they have idle money that can't be spent on a night out. It makes a good target. A lot of the men give because the next guy gives. Sometimes the collection plate is on the commanding officer's desk when he signs the pay roster...but there aren't many desks in bunkers. A lot have been helped by the charities.
 
NOT ALL THE giving is donated through the organized charities. People on the Seoul streets tug constantly at the soldiers' shirt sleeves..."chop-chop...hungry." Those pidgeon English words draw a pretty penny for some of the refugees and bombed-out families in Korea.
 
The PX in Seoul recently opened a new concession on its second floor...the CARE booth. "Send a CARE package to the needy...anywhere in the world." Every day soldiers from up front dig down for a 10-dollar bill to buy a few bags of rice and powdered eggs for the poor. Some have mud on their boots and canned food in their own bellies.
 
The fighting men never say "no."
 
 
 
PSS-211