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Samuel "Dave" Chambers
Chevy Chase, MD-
"At the time of the cease fire, a Korean woman from a nearby village was brought to me by the sentry on the entrance to our compound. She said that two years earlier her neighbor's 18 month-old girl was struck by a military truck; the driver stopped, picked up the girl and that's the last the mother and family knew about the child. Could I find her?"
- Dave Chambers
In 1953, I was with the First Marine Division as a chaplain north of the Imjin and near Chang Dan (?) I believe it was. At the time of the cease fire, a Korean woman from a nearby village was brought to me by the sentry on the entrance to our compound. She said that two years earlier her neighbor's 18 month-old girl was struck by a military truck; the driver stopped, picked up the girl, and that's the last the mother and family knew about the child. Could I find her?
After a lot of talk and telephoning, pondering and prayer, and considerable speculation, my clerk, CPL Paul Lundmark, and I were led toward the navy hospital ship in Inchon. This was all guesswork, however. After a visit to the ship, we learned unfortunately that the hospital ship of that period had returned to the States with our repatriated POWs. Another hospital ship had taken up station in its place. The children-patients of the departed ship had been deposited in the orphanages in Inchon. Sometime later, we started around to the orphanages with our story of a little girl, now about 3 1/2, probably with a head injury, who had been put ashore by the hospital ship. It was still all speculation, of course. We had nothing tangible to go on.
Finally at the Star of the Sea Orphanage, a Sister Theresa indicated that she had received a child from the ship. She had a head injury, but nothing else was known about her. On two different trips from our command location north of the Imjin, I brought first the woman who initially approached me and then, the sister of the victim. In a line-up of children of that approximate age, they both identified the same orphan that Sister Theresa had identified to us as the probable lost child. We took her to her mother in the neighboring village. I cannot describe the mother's joy.
I am still amazed that, with the myriad number of possibilities as to what might have happened to the little girl and to where she might have been sent, we were led to Inchon from north of the Imjin and then to the Star of the Sea Orphanage. I have also lost contact with CPL Lundmark. He was a school teacher from Eau Claire, WI. We were with the Second Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division.
Attached are two pictures: The child who's name was something like Woo Ang Mai (That's my phonetic spelling as I recall it), Sister Theresa and a chaplain fifty-one years younger than today; and the second picture of the lost child and her sister.
I was too busy with my own duties to keep contact with the family, but I would love to know what happened to her. However, I have long since given up discovering that. The memory that she was found for her mother suffices.
KWE Note: Paul Lundmark now lives in Chetek, Wisconsin.
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