Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Pon Son See aka Jimmie Pusan


Article and pictures from Stars & Stripes, June, 1951 Far East Version

Provided by Ann Gilman, daughter of LTJG Cletus J. Gilman,

First Lieutenant, in '50 & '51, deceased 1994


LTJG Cletus Gilman
Preserved the Record


Navy Mascot

It wouldn't be quite accurate to say the U.S. Navy adopted 13 year old Jimmy Pon Son See. Rather, the bright eyed Korean orphan has adopted the Navy, or at least the part of it represented by the destroyer escort WHITEHURST.
Less than a year ago Jimmy was secure in the life of an upper-class Korean family. His Father, Kim Sang Se, businessman, and amateur artist in comfortable circumstances, commuted daily between the family home in Inchon, and his office in Seoul. Then came the Red invasion, and Kim Sang Se and his wife, outspoken anti-communists, were executed. The older son joined the ROK Army and was killed in action. When the Chinese Reds came to the rescue of their North Korean friends and the tide of battle rolled across Inchon, Jimmy's sister, his only surviving relative was killed, and the boy himself caught three shell fragments in the abdomen and two bullets thru his right arm.
Somehow he pulled through. Alone in the world, he joined the tragic southward trek of the South Korean refugees. He got to Pusan by climbing on a southbound train and refusing to get off until it got to the end of the line. However rules are rules and the Military Police at Pusan took him in charge and sympathetically but firmly marched him off to the refugee stockade.
On the way, two rescuers appeared in the persons of GM3 Ralph W. Haizlip of San Diego and SH3 Willis Roll of Centertown MO. both on liberty. There was something appealing about the little refugee that went straight to their hearts and they had no trouble persuading the kindly MPs to turn him over to them. After a shower and a good meal onboard ship, the commanding officer, LCDR M. G. Evans of Richmond VA, arranged for Jimmy to go to the S.O.S. Orphanage and Clinic, but his brief taste of Navy life had been too much for the boy. The next day he came marching over the gangway and indicated that he was ready to "turn to".
On the WHITEHURST they have made Jimmy an honorary seaman, and he wears a regulation uniform cut down to his size. He has his place in all ship drills and exercises. He is a member of the gunnery department, sweeps his compartment and shines shoes. The money he receives for chores goes into fund administered for him by a special committee, and every payday the crew sees to it that something goes into Jimmy's account. Jimmy is a popular member of the liberty party as he assists his sailor friends in Pusan shops.
For weeks the boy said little about himself, even refusing to tell his name, so the crew named him Jimmy. It seemed to fit his personality. Even his original chums, Haizlip and Roll, could get little information out of him, but Seaman James H. Flechner finally got him to loosen up.
What will happen to Jimmy when the WHITEHURST, now helping provide electric power for Pusan municipality, sails away is a question. Regulations forbid naval vessels from carrying Korean nationals out of the country. Sooner or later Jimmy and his Navy pals must be separated and Jimmy, with typical Oriental fatalism is letting the future take care of itself.
(note...Whitehurst returned to the states near the end of 1951. Willis Roll tells me that he and Ralph Haizlip had to take Jimmy to an orphanage which he believes was American operated. Our memories change over time and become fact in our minds. This may account for the different endings on parts one and two of the story. max crow)

Barber is J. Gallacher, Miller Roberts, bearded

The man in "Undress Blues" is Willis Roll. The face nearest Jimmy's left shoulder is C.D. Martin. Jim Schafer is between Jimmy and Willis. Stephen Turkley with pipe, Glover Cameron with part in hair, and curly haired guy in front may be Joe Bussey. Some if the IDs are tentative so please contact crowmax@aol.com  to suggest corrections.

R.L. Phillips, Jimmy, & Elvin Main


Robert T. Warren SN, and Jimmie Pusan SN, salute the colors as they go on liberty.


Jimmie your old buddies would like to hear from you. Get in touch if you can.

Please E-Mail Max Crow Web Site author or yellowearth@yahoo.com


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